April 23, 2010

Serious Trouble

The news from Brutus' collar is not good.  From April 12:12:00 hr through the 16th (9 locations) there has been no change in location. We have not seen such a configuration of locations before, so unless something very unusual has happened, the following are possibilities:

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  . . . .



  1. Oh dear. I hope nothing utoward has happened to Brutus, but it looks like it has! I do hope the weather station staff can snowmobile there and find out. And I hope you can still find a way to follow this fascinating pack. BTW, radiocollars do fall off, as you probably know, and I hope it's nothing worse than that, but as Brutus hasn't been seen for a while. . . .(sigh)
    Anne G

  2. Fingers crossed here in Italy.

  3. Oh no! I hope Brutus is alright :(

  4. I am very thankful for people such as yourselves that watch and study this GREAT CREATURE. They are beautiful to their soul and if you look into their eyes one can see just this. Please keepp the good work and don't let this Mystic Creature be distroyed.
    Sincerely Yours,
    Harley Golden

  5. I've been following this blog since I discovered at the end of last year. I'm disappointed to hear the potentially bad news.

    Thanks for taking the time to put this information up. I read it regularly and find extremely interesting and satisfying.