January 26, 2010

Brutus’s Big Loop

When last we left Brutus and company at the end of Dec. the pack was pretty much near the center of its range. Since then, the wolves made a great loop from Ellesmere over to Axel Heiberg again and then back to the north end of the Fosheim Peninsula on Ellesmere. Lots of travel across the fiords again. For 8 locations from Jan 7 through early on the 11th (84 hours), the pack stayed in an area about 2.3 miles ( 3.7 km) across, just south of Eastwind Lake, where often muskoxen hang out and where earlier locations suggest the wolves have made a few kills. On Jan 8th both locations were essentially in the same spot, probably indicating a fresh kill.

We have also learned that the pack almost certainly contains at least 20 members and possibly up to 30. Not only have 2 folks at the Eureka Weather Station made counts of 23-28 and 25-30 wolves in the pack, but one of workers, Dr. Pierre Fogal of CANDAC who supplied some of the photos for earlier blog entries, furnished us many new photos including one in which we can count at least 20 wolves.

January 19, 2010

Brutus Especially Active

During the 2 weeks since the December 30 entry, when we last left the pack across Slidre Fiord from the Eureka weather station on December 15, the wolves traveled a great deal, covering almost the full extent of their range both on Ellesmere and on Axel Heiberg. The longest distance between their farthest locations was 68 miles (109 Km). On the 19th they again crossed to Axel, returning on the 24th. Another noteworthy trip was on the 21st when they came within about a mile of the glacier. Of course, they would have no reason to climb the glacier, but it is interesting to imagine them so close to this giant, permanent icefield, looking for more muskoxen no doubt.

January 06, 2010

As we study the dots on the map representing the many movements of Brutus and his pack, we can imagine the pack members as they trek across the snow. The photos (see earlier blogs) taken by folks at the weather station, help, as do our memories of the behavior we observed during summer. In that respect, we suggest viewing our recent posting on YouTube of Brutus dominating one of the subordinate members of his pack last summer, quite possibly one of his sons. This incident was the longest example of dominance behavior that either of us had ever seen. We suspect it was a prelude to forcing a maturing offspring to leave the pack (disperse) and find his own territory, mate, and start his own pack.