June 30, 2010

Yes; No Collaring This Year

It's official, the Inuit have refused to allow any more animal collaring, and our application to collar has been denied.  Again we were very lucky to be given approval to collar last year.

Thus we will concentrate on checking out > 50 probable muskox-kill locations based on 2 or more of Brutus's consecutive locations being in the same place.  We also hope to do a helicopter count of muskoxen and the few Peary caribou in the area.

Much of the information we obtain will be very useful to help explain Brutus' pack movements and behavior last year.  We will keep folks posted with new entries as we learn more.


June 28, 2010

2010 Trip: No Collaring?

Although we had hoped to collar a few remaining members of Brutus's pack in July 2010, that possibility is now in doubt.  We were very fortunate to receive approval in 2009 to collar Brutus because native people in Nunavut and other areas of northern Canada do not easily accept collaring animals. We are scheduled to arrive on Ellesmere Island on July 3, weather permitting, but our permit application for collaring has not yet been approved. We understand that there is considerable opposition to our
collaring more wolves or any muskoxen.

Assuming our permit to observe the Eureka wolves is approved, Dean Cluff, Dan MacNulty, and I will do what we can to locate this year's den and to examine as many probable kill locations as we can, based on Brutus's data. Thus we will report our progress here as we proceed.

And we are still attempting to discuss our collaring with the local Inuit, hoping that they will allow us to deploy at least one collar on a wolf.


June 16, 2010

The Brutus Pack's Kills and Rendezvous Sites

Our analysis of the locations of Brutus and pack so far indicates that between July 9 and December 21, 2010 the pack made about 30 possible muskox kills. Our main assumption in this analysis is that if Brutus remained at, or within .5 km of a location more than once (i.e., for more than 12 hr), the reason was to feed on a kill.

From July through Nov. 17, however, multiple times at a single location could also indicate visits to pups at a den or a rendezvous site. We identified 5 probable rendezvous sites (RS) based on multiple visits/site:

Distance Between Sites
RS First date #VisitsMiKm
1 7-18-1200 6
2 8-5-0000 38 11.318.2
3 8-17-1200 6 8.413.5
4 8-25-1200 20 3.45.9
5 10-11-00 13 13.521.7
The above dates show when Brutus first visited each of the RSs, and their locations are shown in the accompanying map. However, the pack moved back and forth among the sites. For example, Brutus used RS 2 between 8/5 and 8/17, but he also returned there 8/21 - 8/25; 9/15 - 9/27; 10/8 - 10/9; 10/14; 10/22 - 23; and 11/17, while using other RSs in between.

Often during summer the wolves move pups to kills, and then the pups stay there for extended periods, and those become RSs. If that was the case with these RSs, that would add another possible 5 kills to the kill total through December 21.