November 05, 2009

Brutus Crosses to Axel Heiberg Island!

Lying immediately west of Ellesmere Island is Axel Heiberg. On maps, the 2 islands appear as a single entity dissected by fiords. The closest distance between islands is about 8 miles (12.8 Km).

That area is where Brutus and presumably his pack crossed to Axel sometime between October 18 at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Central time (times on the map locations are UTC, Zulu, or Greenwich Mean Time).

Remembering that each location is 12 hr apart, we can do some quick calculations to find how much time they might have spent on Axel. Assuming a 5 mph (8 kmph) travel time, they would have spent about 5.5 hr traveling the 27.5 mi (44 km) between their last location on Ellesmere to Axel and back to their first new location on Ellesmere, leaving 18.5 hr as the most time they could have spent on Axel. Of course they could have spent much less time. The location on Axel is just 1.27 mi (2.0 km) inland, but again, they could have traveled farther inland. Nevertheless, we can’t help but wonder why they did not spend more time on Axel.

Could there be another wolf pack there whose scent marks our pack detected? Did our wolves find no muskoxen they could kill? Did they maybe kill a calf, eat it, and then decide to leave? Our guess is that they detected another pack. Otherwise, one would think that after all that travel across the fiord, they would have spent more time searching farther and wider and finally made a kill there. But who knows? Hopefully later travels to the area will give us more insight.


The Google Earth maps we are using to plot the data were taken during summer when some of the fiords are relatively ice-free and the ground is barren, right now, the entire area is covered with snow, the fiords are frozen, and it is dark, 24 hr/day.

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