Picking up where we left off last time, Brutus spent much time in the southeast end of the pack’s territory and then on Nov. 14 headed about 6.5 miles (10.4 km) farther south than we had ever found him before.
He then traveled 14.1 miles westnorthwestward crossing the southeast arm of frozen Eureka Sound back to Axel Heiberg Island. 12 hours later, he was back on Ellesmere, a trek of some 8.4 miles (13.4 km), where he remained about a third of a mile (0.5 km) inland for at least the next 12 hours. Did the pack make a kill there? Of course we don’t know, but that would be one good explanation for why he (and probably the rest of his pack) spent so much time in one spot. The area is fairly flat and low, not too far from a small lake and the kind of area that muskoxen like to frequent.
Why the pack crosses to Axel Heiberg and then quickly returns to Ellesmere is still a mystery. From my work much farther south in Minnesota, I have long suspected that in autumn after the pups leave rendezvous sites and begin traveling with the adults, the parents take them around the outer extent of their territory more-or-less introducing them to all their area. Or perhaps, with the newly formed ice, the pack is just asserting itself by venturing out farther and scent-marking new areas. We’ll just have to keep watching for more data that might shed light on this question.
With temperatures reaching -37 C, we keep hoping that the collar holds up and keeps working!