The adorable wolf pups at MN’s International Wolf Center finally have names

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Meet Axel and Grayson.

They're the two wolf pups that came to Minnesota's International Wolf Center from a zoo in Canada earlier this year. The organization had a naming contest for the pups, and the winners were announced Monday.

Ray Leonard of Custer, Wisconsin, submitted the name Axel, in reference to Axel Heiberg Island in the Canadian Arctic – the area is known for its unique wildlife, including arctic wolves, the International Wolf Center in Ely said on Facebook.

The wolf center describes Axel as a "bold pup that explores without hesitation."

Martha Cole of Duluth, Minnesota, suggested the name Grayson, meaning "son of steward." The center says a steward is best described as a caregiver, and Grayson "seems to have a calmer nature, spending more quiet time with staff."

Grayson's nickname is Grayback for the darker coloration on his back, the wolf center notes.

The wolf center said the people who submitted the winning names will be awarded a $300 prize package, which includes a one-year membership to the International Wolf Center, two tickets to see the pups in person and a variety of "fun wolf-themed merchandise."

More about the International Wolf Center

“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,” says its mission and values page.

The center does not breed wolves, but adopts pups every four years for its exhibit.

“These ambassador wolves are important learning opportunities for visitors to observe the biology and behavior of this misunderstood predator,” according to a news release.

More than 33,000 people visited the center in 2015, the release notes.

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