Home   »   Wolf   »   Grayson


Photo by: Saranda Oestreicher

Photo by: Saranda Oestreicher

Grayson, along with his littermate Axel, are arctic subspecies of the gray wolf species (Canis lupus) born in captivity at a facility in Canada.  Grayson may be distinguished by his darker coloration specifically in the mid-back or shoulder region. Grayson appears to have a broader skeletal structure. As young adults, it may be difficult to distinguish specific characteristics until they reach maturity at 18 – 24 months of age. Arctic wolves’ native habitat is found in the northern regions of North America as well as along the eastern and northern shores of Greenland. There are several large islands that occupy this region including Ellsemere and Axel Hieberg islands. This region is typically snow covered for most of the year, but a mid-June to mid-August thaw supports enough plant material to feed the arctic wolf’s prey: musk-ox, caribou and arctic hares.

For more information on our ambassador wolves, watch extended wolf videos on the International Wolf Center’s YouTube Channel or enjoy a close-up of wolf behavior on our Wolf Watch Cams.

If you are interested in sponsoring Grayson, please click here.







Recent Logs for Grayson:

Photo by Katelyn Schwab

Grayson – Response To External Influences

August 7th, 2019

Grayson continues to be the wolf that responds to external influences such as backhoe work around the site (yes, the new fiber optic line is being dug this week.. maybe a return of the retired camera broadcast next week?).  We did have  break through this week.  For years, Grizzer has been bark-howling at the vets when they come on site for medical checks. As you can imagine, this past month has had a lot of visits to help Luna (and now Aidan), to heal from the various medical issues.  Grayson, hearing Grizzer bark howl, would join in and even started a few bark howling sessions at the vet before Grizzer even figured out they were on site.  This is an obvious concern because bark-howling is a warning sign to other pack members and we certainly didn’t want a vet visit to be a negative thing.  On Tuesday nights vet check with Aidan, Grizzer actually approached the vet, sniffed and licked her hand and never let out a single howl.  Fortunately, Grayson didn’t either and Aidan had a good check, while the respective packs remained calm.  Positive and negative conditioning are issues we deal with on a daily basis.  To learn more about conditioning, Join us for Wednesday, August 14th at 7 pm Central Time for the Wolf Care, Positive Conditioning Webinar – we will share news on Luna and Aidan’s medical condition an have a special guest join us for some tips on positive conditioning for our 2020 pups.  Follow this link to register.   https://www.wolf.org/programs/webinars

Grayson enjoying the mist

Posturing Over Rank Continues With Grayson And Axel

July 15th, 2019
There is tension between Grayson and Denali, which started the day the pups were introduced and usually involves food.  While Denali defends much of the food with Grayson, the tables are turning with Boltz being more isolated by the summer heat.  Grayson seems to have found a new opportunity to take possession of items and to show a tail posture well above his back.  Axel and Grayson continue to posture about rank, but it is Grayson that leads the howls in this pack.  When it come to things that cause anxiety, Grayson is facing it and giving a bark howl to let the intruders know that they need to back off.  

Weight: 91

Grayson and our camera

Grayson – Investigation – The Focus Of The Young Wolf

March 15th, 2019

You may have noticed that the logs and youtube have been a little delayed.  This week’s photo of Grayson is one challenges we face in getting quality video footage for publication.  Wolves have a natural curiosity and bringing cameras into the enclosure means that wolves will often investigate.  To be able to get footage, we usually require at least two people, one to distract and be an observer and one to look through the eye of the camera.  Added to this challenge is subzero temperatures and precipitation and this winter has created some very short filming opportunities.  Fortunately, we have a series of Birthday webinars coming up.  If you miss our Youtube post, please join us for our webinars, where we have individual birthday webinars and more.  Grayson and Axel’s birthday is May 2nd.   Grayson seems to have the same pattern, losing weight, likely due to increased activity and some increased competition.  Last winter he weighed 82 pounds in February 2018, but by October of 2018, he was back to 94 pounds.   In addition to the weekly carcass on Saturday night’s What’s for Dinner Program, we feed some smaller food resources such as beaver, chicken or deer legs on Wednesdays and extra chicken or beef meals are offered to Grayson on a daily basis.  The issue with Grayson is not about food availability, but it is about attitude and competition. He has always been more reserved and timid, so even if he may want the food, he is easily intimidated when other wolves display food defense.  To reduce food competition, we require at least 2 if not 3 wolf care staff to distract the other wolves.  The good thing is, we condition the wolves from the time they are pups to take meatballs and following the meatball tray as a form of distraction.  Since we are scheduled to adopt pups again in 2020, we are brushing up on the adult behavioral traits that need conditioning with pups. 

Webinars & Lectures


Weight: 83

Grayon- Do Wolves Really Sleep?

February 6th, 2019

With the exception of some of our retirees, it is rare to find a wolf that falls into a deep sleep accompanied by snoring.  In most cases, the wolves have periods where they close their eyes, get some relief from the pack life, but even the slightest noise will see them spring into action or the the very least, an alert head and ear posture.  In this week’s photo, Grayson is taking a moment on the rock, but the ears are pricked forward and slightly turned to capture surrounding sounds.  The one exception to the rule of sound sleep might be after a major feeding.  Wolves have the capability to eat a large quantity of meat in one sitting (research estimates ~20% of their body weight).  There is no doubt that a full stomach can override the alert sensors and you may see minimal activity or interest in surroundings in either captive or wild settings. 

Grayson focused

Grayson – Focused On Food

January 2nd, 2019

Grayson has a complexity to his behavior that can be a challenge to manage.  If there is a threat of a strange human or unknown activity around the enclosure, Grayson is the first (and sometimes only) pack member to bark howl in an alarm format.  He is not testing for behavior like his littermate, Axel, but is waiting and watching for opportunities.  The biggest conflict that he has is with Denali and is usually associated with food, but his more timid response means he is not as likely to defend food.  Staff work on getting extra meals throughout the week to make sure Grayson gets the resources that he needs.