October 19, 2010

Sunset on Ellesmere

Again the sun sets at 80° North, not to be seen until late February.  Despite the loss of Brutus, his pack clearly is thriving without him as the attached photo sent by Eureka Weather Station Manager, Rai LeCotey, attests. 

October 14, 2010

Brutus Immortalized at Weather Station

In honor of Brutus' contributions to science, he has been mounted and placed on display at the Eureka Weather Station along with a plaque explaining his background.  A map of the GPS locations his collar provided will be mounted nearby.

The plaque reads:
Canis lupus arctos

The breeding male of an arctic wolf pack that often denned near the Eureka Weather Station, Brutus first caught the attention of the staff in 2003 when he began coming regularly to the facility. The regal young wolf was a standout, and he and his family were frequent and fascinating visitors to the station over the years. He sired at least 5 generations of pups, and at approximately age 9, he became a celebrated pioneer in wolf research. From July 2009 to April 2010, he wore a collar tracked by satellite, and his far-ranging travels with his pack were recorded by wolf researchers and followed on an Internet blog by thousands of people. In April 2010, data from the collar reported no new locations, raising concerns that Brutus had died. Weather station personnel launched a search, and on a snow-covered hillside, they found the big wolf's body. A necropsy determined that he had died of natural causes. Brutus lived a very long life as a hunter and pack leader in one of the most challenging environments on earth. To honor his contribution to the world's knowledge of wolves and to preserve their countless personal memories, the staff brought Brutus home to Eureka.

We are still awaiting word from geneticists about whether the last batch of pup scats included one from the last of the 5 pups we studied last summer. The pups are doing well as the accompanying photo of them by WS staff shows.



October 01, 2010

The Pack Minus Brutus

Following is a quote from a 27th September 2010 report by Weather Station manager, Rai LeCotey, about our study pack. This represents the first piece of information we have since leaving the study area in July.

"There are lot of wolves in the pack again this year and from what I can see, there are 14 pups, 2-3 adults and 3-4 nannies for a total of about 20 wolves. so far. The pups are very shy of us and run away when we drive up so it's hard to count them all, while the adults and nannies don't seem to mind us taking pictures of them."

From this report it appears that the wolves from both active dens we found in July, some 10 miles (16 km) apart have reassembled into one pack now that the pups have become more mobile.

You can imagine how much we wish we had had GPS collars on a few of these wolves!