July 01, 2009

What secrets will the wolves of the High Arctic reveal?

Will the researchers find a wolf pack to observe? Will the pack have pups? Will abundant numbers of muskoxen and arctic hares be present on the vast, rugged expanses of land here in the farthest reaches of the north?

Veteran Ellesmere biologists Dave Mech and Dean Cluff will seek answers to these questions and more as they begin Dave’s 24th consecutive year of the Ellesmere Island Arctic Wolf Research Expedition. Although Dean studies wolves as part of his duties with the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), this collaboration with Dave Mech on Ellesmere Island and the International Wolf Center is on his own time and outside his normal GNWT responsibilities.

The study area where the two researchers will spend the next two weeks is a region so remote that the nearest permanent human community is far to the south. Here, at 80 degrees north latitude, the sun never sets in summer – and in winter, 24 hours of darkness blanket the landscape.

Check in here on July 4th, the day Dave and Dean arrive on Ellesmere - that is, weather permitting! They will send their notes from the field, and you can stay up-to-date through their their postings to the Blog – which may include photos!

What’s in store? Nobody knows – except the wolves. And with luck, they will share some of the secrets of their lives with us. Join Dave Mech and Dean Cluff for an incredible journey.

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