July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Day I

Arrived safely at the base camp in Eureka. No wolves at the rock den.

This is a discouraging discovery for the researchers, especially since the wolves did not den there in the summer of 2007. It is puzzling. The rock den, a number of miles from the weather station, has been a chosen spot for countless generations of wolves in this area. It’s impossible to know why this favored place has been rejected for two years in a row. One theory is that ice might have still been present in the cave-like opening in the rocks when the female was selecting a place to have the pups. But wolves are elusive animals, and Dave and Dean are accustomed to having to use all their skills to figure out where a pack of wolves might be and where they might have their pups securely situated at a den or summer rendezvous site. None of these wolves has a radio tracking collar, a piece of sophisticated hardware that helps to locate wolves in more southerly latitudes. This is the challenge of field work in a place so remote that it requires three days of travel just to get there from the lower 48 states – that is, if the weather cooperates. Nothing is guaranteed. Persistence, patience and determination are basic requirements, and “technology” in the high arctic consists of binoculars and spotting scopes.

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1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJuly 12, 2009

    Hi, I was wondering, if you don't use radio collars, how do you find a wolf in a place as big as where you are?
    Do you just travel around the wolves territory looking for signs that wolves were there? Or is there another way you do it?
    -Mia Werger