September 25, 2009

Brutus' pack was at the Weather Station!

Well, we received a new download of Brutus location data, and it confirmed that it was Brutus' pack that the Weather Station (WS) folks saw on September 12 and again on September 14. Not only does this give us a good count on Brutus' pack size, but it also tells us that the pups are moving quite far. Generally in September pups remain in a rendezvous site, and both before and after the trips that took them by the WS Brutus, they were at the rendezvous site. They then remained there for all of September 15 and 16.

The trips to the WS area and possibly beyond, amounted to a journey of at least ll miles (17.5 km) each way. This shows that the pups are developing well, and it makes us wonder just when they will leave the rendezvous site for good and become nomadic around the territory with the rest of the pack. Meanwhile, the area is losing about an hour of light per day, so before long it will be dark till next spring.


September 22, 2009

Our Ellesmere wolf pack evidently visited the Eureka weather station during the past week, an email from station manager Al Gaudet revealed. Adding to the telemetry data from our pack, Al indicated that on September 12 he counted 18 wolves including 4 robust pups. A few days later, one of the station's equipment operators reported "24 with lots of young ones." It is hard to get a good count on that large a pack because the members keep shifting around while they travel. Hopefully one of the station folks will get good photos before light dwindles and disappears there in a few weeks. Then we might get a more definitive count.

As for the radio-location data, the last we have is on 6:00 pm September 11, so we cannot confirm from our location data that this was our study pack. (The position of the receiving satellite in the Argos system was adjusted in the past few days, so that may explain why the collar hasn't been able to reach the satellite with its locations.) We expect to get the September 12 and later location data in a few more days. We can't wait!


September 18, 2009

Brutus' Locations

We continue to be thrilled to download Brutus' locations and to try to deduce the behavior of him and his pack. We suspect the pack has moved the pups again to a new rendezvous site back across the river flats that we found so uncrossable last summer. We also suspect several of the locations as indicating muskox kills. Because the locations are precise to within a few yards or meters, next summer we should be able use hand-held GPS units to check these sites for kill remains.

Here is an example of a long move that Brutus made in no more than 12 hours.
The distance was 21.32-miles (straight-line), but we really suspect that he did not cross over the top of Blacktop Mt, but rather went around. This would make the distance he traveled much more than 21 miles.