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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.

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Recent Logs for Grayson:

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.

Grayson taking a drink in the pond. Photo by Sheri Kreager

Grayson- Taking A Break At The Pond

October 5th, 2018

Written by Brenda Loeb and Sheri Kreager participants in the Wolf Photography weekend in early October. 

Here is Grayson taking a break at the pond, he can usually be found in the presence of his brother Axel, doing laps through and around the enclosure.  It is fun to watch him interact with the rest of the pack.  He remains submissive to Denali and Boltz, it will be interesting to see if he steps up as the pack leader in the future.

Grayson is spending time near the retired area listening and responding

Grayson – Strongest Bonds – Most Difficult Time

August 9th, 2018

In the transition of Aidan into retirement, Grayson seems to have the most significant impact to his behavior.  Even prior to retirement, Grayson would display some lone howls towards staff at the start of wolf care.  He is a very vocal wolf, but lately, the howling seems to continue into the mid-morning.  It is low throated in tone and no other wolf responds;  Whatever he is communicating, the other wolves don’t seem stimulated to reply.  The other behavioral changes include a bit more timid behavior about feeding, interactions with the rest of the pack and even his ability to compete for the daily meatball vitamins.  Staff are spending more time with him and have added 4 supplemental feedings a week to boost Grayson’s body weight and provide more motivation to compete.  Of course, staff need to find a distraction and even fifteen minutes of holding for Denali to accomplish this goal.  It is week two of this action, and things are getting better.  In our past experience, wolves that have the strongest bonds often have the most difficult time with change and loss of a that social companion.  

Weight: 91

Grayson – Bonding Brothers

July 24th, 2018

Earlier this winter we had some concerns about Grayson being too attached to Aidan to make a change in pack leadership.  This concern has diminished as Grayson is getting a significant amount of social reassurance from his litter mate, Axel.  There is no doubt, these two still spend a fair amount of time wrestling, pinning, squashing and jaw sparring like they did when they were pups, but we have many observations where Grayson seeks out Axel and even uses him as a pillow.