Axel, the arctic wolf at the International Wolf Center euthanized

Sad news out of Ely. Popular ambassador for the International Wolf Center, 8-year-old Axel the arctic wolf was euthanized on Sunday according to a post on the Wolf Center’s social media page. The Wolf Center posted that Axel had been seen on security camera footage having a seizure on Friday morning, April 19.

The post says Axel was moved to the retirement enclosure and monitored closely.

According to the post on the International Wolf Center’s Facebook page:

On Saturday night, he exhibited a few behaviors that led staff to conclude he was feeling worse, but he still kept eating and consistently greeted the wolf care team.

The Center’s veterinarian, Dr. Kristine Woerheide, was consulted and helped develop a plan for a blood draw so lab work could be completed at the nearby Ely Veterinary Clinic in Ely, Minnesota. Unfortunately, the lab work confirmed that Axel was in severe kidney failure. The effects of extreme kidney failure likely contributed to his seizures.

After consultation with the wolf care team and Dr. Woerheide, it was agreed that because of Axel’s complex medical condition, the irreversible kidney failure and concerns about his quality of life going forward, humane euthanasia was the only option.

Axel passed away surrounded by his wolf care team.

If you would like to donate in Axel’s memory, visit