What are the wolves up to?

Further photos and updates are available on the "UKWCT Friends" Facebook group.
(Please note: the group is not an official UKWCT site; opinions and views posted there may differ from those of the UKWCT.)

Previous updates are available: August 2019, July, May/June, March/Apri , January/February, November/December 2018 and September/October 2018

Mosi and Torak

14th September 2019

Fun in the sun

Saturday was a bright, sunny and warm day, more like summer than autumn. As everyone arrived, plans were drawn up for what would be a full day of wolf activities.

The first event, as usual, was taking the Beenhams out for a walk. They're starting to grow their winter coats and their tails have become noticeably fluffier - they always look a bit like bottle brushes in summer! The wolves had a leisurely walk and this time Tala won the competition for "worst smell", having rolled in something truly stinky. Towards the end of the walk the route happened to take them past Mosi's enclosure and it's here that you're given a swift reminder of the fact they're wolves... Tala was itching to get to Mosi and the feeling was, I suspect, mutual. There was much grumbling and Tundra decided to join in too, just to add extra spice. Once we'd got past the enclosure the wolves returned to their usual stoic selves and we completed their walk without further issues.

We went to see if Mai wanted to come out. She did, so we had a short walk through the very pleasant "bluebell woods" - a path amongst the trees that border the area immediately east of the Trust. We went along the log field where the Beenhams used to pose, then across the new bridge. At that point Mai decided she really wanted to get back to Motomo and she set off determinedly towards him. She was duly delivered back to her packmate and Motomo would have been pleased to see her. As with last week, Motomo was able to keep an eye on her during the walk and he didn't howl as much as usual while she was out.

Mosi and Torak were next on the agenda. Mosi is on medication to reduce swelling on her left foreleg and it's been zonking her out somewhat. The dose was halved by the vet last week and the results have been good. Mosi came out for a short walk with Torak and showed a good deal of interest in the various sights and scents around the back field, including wanting to go down to the area where we had badgers some years ago. She set a brisk old pace and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience.

The wolves then had their lunch, which for a change was largely comprised of venison and rabbit. This went down well with the wolves, as did the "ice lollies" they were given. These were blocks of ice with bits of meat and eggs mixed in, as well as some blood. The air was filled with the sound of scraping and chomping as the wolves worked their way through the ice to the treats within! As a bonus for her, Mosi was given one of our hessian sacks filled with straw and various scents - she enjoyed that, too.

There was time for some upkeep of the site, which included some pruning of over-enthusiastic shrubs and trees adjacent to the enclosures. The wolves' bedding was replenished too, much to Mosi's intrigue (she stood and watched throughout as the sweeping and straw-laying took place).

The last bit of the day was going in with the Beenhams. Tundra did her neck-rubbing trick, Tala tried to sneak in some fuss and attention without Tundra noticing and Nuka, after saying hello, flopped on his side for some belly rubs. As I was stroking him I could see an orange eye watching me out of the corner of my eye. Suspecting he might be plotting something, I carried on rubbing him and he raised a leg or two to allow better access. Torn as he was between fuss and fun, he eventually succumbed to the latter. All of a sudden he was up on his feet and "bop" - another round of his "Jack in the Box" game. He then settled down for another round and this time it was Eve who was the recipient of his (gentle) "bop". Well-satisfied, he ran off with his entire rear end wagging! I've a strong feeling he was trying to get us to chase him, but of course we couldn't.

Tala and Tundra stayed around for some final fussing, then we headed out and then on our various ways home, no doubt reflecting on another fun day.
Mosi and Torak


8th September 2019

This morning we arrived to brilliant sunshine and a decided nip in the air.

The Arctics were taken out first. They were quite excitable most probably due to not coming out, which had been their choice, for some weeks. We soon warmed up as we marched around the fields enjoying interacting with all 3. Sikko in particular had to greet everyone more than once. Sikko also enjoyed rolling around in very pungent deposits which we all had to enjoy the aroma of throughout the walk.
All of them started dawdling as we got close to home on the return to their enclosure. They suddenly become intensely interested in single blades of grass and then slowly amble back towards their enclosures. Once back inside they had a drink and then went over to show off their smells to Mai and Motomo who were loitering with interest to see what they'd been up to.

We were all in need of drinks and some sustenance so stopped for half an hour. We also spent quite a while making a fuss of Mosi and Torak who didn't come out today. We all commented on seeing all the wolves' fur starting to thicken up, another sign the seasons are changing.
While we had some lunch, I took the tortoises outside for their 'walk' which always causes a few chuckles. They like to roam around the grass munching on clover leaves.

Then we were off out with Nuka, Tundra and Tala who dashed off at a pace, keen to check out all the smells the Arctics had left along the way. We stopped for some fusses briefly as they were keen to keep going today.
On the way back, they all went over the new bridge without giving it a glance and then we headed out to the field behind the enclosures. We had a stubborn moment where they all looked longingly at the other wolves watching them! They are always keen to show who's boss which can keep the handlers' on their toes. We let them stand their ground for a short while and then encouraged them to move off, rather than letting them feel they have the upper paw and head over to the other enclosures for some feisty interaction.
Once back in their enclosure we saw them go to the waterfall for a drink. We decided to take 5 minutes to cool down and have a drink ourselves as the day had warmed up!

We thought we'd see if Mai wanted to come out and she did. Defying her 13 years she charged off around the big field behind the enclosures. By going this way, Motomo can see where she is and I didn't hear him howl as he usually does when she's on a walk.

After, food was prepared for the tortoises and wolves. The tortoises were put back inside now as the nights are getting colder.

Today's wolf menu was paunch and rabbit. We enjoyed some great interaction as they all laid claim to each other's rabbits and fiercely guarded them. To be up close at the fence with Massak vocally warning Pukak to leave his rabbit alone is a remarkable experience. His growls seem to vibrate through my ribcage!

We decided to go into the Beenham's enclosure and see if they would be interested in us rather than the rabbits. Initially they all came over with Tala reluctantly abandoning her rabbit momentarily. Nuka came bounding over with an exuberant facial expression. He is the only wolf at the trust that has this face! Mindful of not humanising them, I can't help feeling he is smiling like an overexuberant and mischievous child.
Tundra, who had some remnants of rabbit on her face, enjoyed sharing this with some us during the customary head rubs... Instinct to guard food soon kicked in and they all ran off. We left as Tala reclaimed her rabbit and Tundra left her to it. Despite being the alpha, she knows not to try and take Tala's rabbit from her! Nuka had decided to not get involved with any rabbit ownership and wandered further into the enclosure. Maybe he'd stashed his out of the way somewhere... Sensible...

We all departed wondering how the time had passed so rapidly, all very happy to have such a great Sunday with the wolves.
Update, photos and video by Eve.
Beenhams, Mai
Arctics, Motomo