April 23, 2010
1. The collar released prematurely.
2. The wolves chewed the collar off.
3. The collar malfunctioned.
4. Brutus is sick or wounded.
5. Brutus died.
A second download 4 days later contained no new data but adds to evidence that something is drastically wrong. Occasionally no new data during a download means that the collar's Argos (transmitting) antenna was obscured at crucial times or the satellite passings were not oriented well enough to receive the data. Then the satellite just sends what it already has but nothing new. However, a dropped collar or a dead wolf could also obscure the antenna. One more download in a few days should indicate whether the problem is satellite orientation or obscured antenna.
Whether the collar is off the wolf or the wolf is dead will remain unknown unless weather station folks try to check the location. They are considering snowmobiling there, but the travel distance is about 10 miles (16 km) and the terrain where the collar is (mountainside at 1,300 feet or 450 meters) is rough for snowmobile access.
Part of the wolf pack has shown up at the weather station twice since April 3, but Brutus was not seen with them. Perhaps he was with the rest of the pack, but perhaps . . . .