Axel, along with his littermate Grayson, are arctic subspecies of the gray wolf species (Canis lupus) born in captivity at a facility in Canada. Axel may be distinguished by his lighter facial coloration, almond shaped eyes and somewhat slimmer face. 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. Axel’s name was selected in honor of the wolves that range on Axel Hieberg island. 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.
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.