For Immediate Release – Monday, July 11, 2016

Axel on left; Grayson on right.

Axel on left; Grayson on right.
Photo credit: Heidi Pinkerton

Names chosen for new arctic wolf pups

Contact: Abbe Pedersen, communications manager
Office: 763-560-7374, ext. 225
Cell: 952-250-1486
Minneapolis – When the rare arctic wolf pups arrived at International Wolf Center on May 25 in Ely, Minn., they were nicknamed Axel and Grayback.

The Center held a naming contest and received thousands of entries from the public.  But when the voting was done, it seemed that many liked the names already given to them, with one small change. “Axel” remained “Axel” and “Grayback” became “Grayson”.

Ray Leonard of Custer, Wisc. submitted the first entry for the name Axel, and is the contest winner for “Wolf Pup 1”! The name Axel is in reference to Axel Heiberg Island in the Canadian arctic, lying immediately west of the more famous Ellesmere Island, known for its unique wildlife including arctic wolves.
Martha Cole of Duluth, Minn. submitted the first entry for the name Grayson, and is the contest winner for “Wolf Pup 2”! The name Grayson means “son of a steward.” A “steward” is best described as a care-giver and Pup 2 seems to have a calmer nature, spending more quiet time with wolf care staff.
Leonard and Cole will each receive a prize package worth over $300. Seats remain on the July 30 Pup Bus Trip from Brooklyn Park, Minn. to the interpretive center in Ely, for a special behind-the-scenes look at Axel and Grayson. Tickets for this day trip are available through

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER – Learn about the International Wolf Center at The Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the premier source for wolf education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.
The Center educates through its website, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, on-site adventure and outreach programs and International Wolf magazine. The interpretive center is located at 1396 Highway 169, Ely, Minnesota, 55731. (Phone: 218-365-4695)