July 30, 2012

Due to other priorities, Dave Mech does not expect to continue with these studies himself. The native Inuit are no longer allowing any animals in Nunavut, where Ellesmere is located, to be ear-tagged, banded or collared. Dave is trying to arrange with colleagues to find a way to continue collecting at least some basic information about the wolves in this area. In winter 2011-2012, a pack of at least 20 wolves still inhabited the area, and they did occupy at least one of the dens in summer 2012.

June 20, 2011

For only the second time since 1986, the Ellesmere wolves will not be receiving their usual summer scientific attention this year.  Due to a blood clot in the lower part of one leg, Dave Mech has been advised to avoid visiting for any extended periods remote areas that lack medical facilities. Dean Cluff is busy studying wolves and caribou in the Northwest Territories,
and Dan MacNulty is preparing to assume a new position at Utah State University.

Meanwhile the 3 scientists will be planning and preparing for a possible return to their study area in summer 2012.


November 08, 2010

Genetic Results for Fifth Pup

The new results from the fifth member of the litter we observed in July are now in.  They confirm that Brutus was probably not the father of any of the pups.  (See September 15 posting).  In addition, the data were insufficient to determine whether the pups had 2 mothers.


October 19, 2010

Sunset on Ellesmere

Again the sun sets at 80° North, not to be seen until late February.  Despite the loss of Brutus, his pack clearly is thriving without him as the attached photo sent by Eureka Weather Station Manager, Rai LeCotey, attests. 

October 14, 2010

Brutus Immortalized at Weather Station

In honor of Brutus' contributions to science, he has been mounted and placed on display at the Eureka Weather Station along with a plaque explaining his background.  A map of the GPS locations his collar provided will be mounted nearby.

The plaque reads:
Canis lupus arctos

The breeding male of an arctic wolf pack that often denned near the Eureka Weather Station, Brutus first caught the attention of the staff in 2003 when he began coming regularly to the facility. The regal young wolf was a standout, and he and his family were frequent and fascinating visitors to the station over the years. He sired at least 5 generations of pups, and at approximately age 9, he became a celebrated pioneer in wolf research. From July 2009 to April 2010, he wore a collar tracked by satellite, and his far-ranging travels with his pack were recorded by wolf researchers and followed on an Internet blog by thousands of people. In April 2010, data from the collar reported no new locations, raising concerns that Brutus had died. Weather station personnel launched a search, and on a snow-covered hillside, they found the big wolf's body. A necropsy determined that he had died of natural causes. Brutus lived a very long life as a hunter and pack leader in one of the most challenging environments on earth. To honor his contribution to the world's knowledge of wolves and to preserve their countless personal memories, the staff brought Brutus home to Eureka.

We are still awaiting word from geneticists about whether the last batch of pup scats included one from the last of the 5 pups we studied last summer. The pups are doing well as the accompanying photo of them by WS staff shows.