February 24, 2010

Return to the Old Routine

Now that the pack has finished its long trip to the south and returned to its usual range on the Fosheim Peninsula of Ellesmere and on northeastern Axel Heiberg, it has resumed its regular routine. The wolves spent February 5 and 6 on Ellesmere, then crossed to Axel for a couple of days and returned to Ellesmere. They visited the weather station twice, and folks, including Emily McCullough, got a a good shot at Brutus. Note the twilight as the sun prepares to rise for the first time in 4 months.


February 19, 2010


. . . and they returned in a hurry to their regular range. In only 3.5 days, the pack covered 145 miles (234 km) or 41 miles (67 km) per day from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, straight-line distance between consecutive locations. The wolves certainly didn’t travel straight between each point, although on such treks they usually do move fairly directly. Still, they no doubt put on many more miles than we could measure. They also did not seem to make any kills along the way back, although it did look like they stopped at 1 or 2 kills made on the way south. Thus this very interesting push outside of their usual range, whose function we wondered about a few days ago, turned out to be a little hunting trip. By probing into new areas, not only do the wolves find new muskoxen to try to kill, but the muskoxen they do seek are less wary than those that the wolves test in their regular range. If the prey are less wary, they are probably easier to kill, with less risk to the wolves.

Check out the Discovery Channel's Daily Planet featuring Dave's research!

February 04, 2010

Heading Off for Parts Unknown

The pack has again extended its range of travel and seems to be on a major probe into a new area. None of the 400+ locations since July 9 have been this far south. In fact, the farthest-south location before the pack left its main area on Jan 19 was 25 miles (40 km) north of the Jan 20 locations. We’re not sure what the pack is up to except that this move is in accord with earlier probes to Axel Heiberg Island to the west. Probably the pack is searching for more muskoxen, and summer surveys done years earlier tend to confirm that muskoxen do sometimes frequent some of the areas to the south.

February 02, 2010

Where are they headed?

After apparently feeding at a kill during Jan. 7-11, the pack moved 7.9 miles (12.6 km) E. and probably made another kill, where they stayed from Jan. 11 through early on the 13th. The wolves then moved S. and seem to have made another kill. They stayed at that one for 6 locations from Jan. 15 through the 17th and continued on S.

What's most interesting about that southerly move is that their last location, Jan. 19, represents the most southerly move we have ever recorded for these wolves. Because of that and the possibility that the pack might continue farther S., we will try to update this map DAILY until the wolves settle into more of a routine.