Updates

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:
2021
May-Jun ,Mar-Apr ,Jan-Feb
2020
Oct-Dec, September, August, July, June, Mar-May, Feb, Jan
2019
Dec, Nov, Oct, Sep, Aug, Jul, May/Jun, Mar/Apr , Jan/Feb
2018
Nov/Dec 2018 and Sep/Oct 2018

Please note:

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there will be fewer updates than usual. The wolves are still receiving excellent care from our volunteers, there are just fewer of them on site.

Mai

4th December 2021

The day was cold, but lovely and sunny and just perfect for a winter walk with the Beenhams, Nuka, Tala and Tundra, in the morning. As we walked down through the Trust the Arctics were jumping around to say "Hi". Mai and Motomo sat regally on their enclosure mound watching us go by.
As we approached the Beenhams' enclosure, we were treated to an exuberant Nuka literally jumping straight into the air with all 4 legs off the ground! He did this twice and then raced into the holding enclosure with his sisters to wait for us... somebody was keen. Oh to have the camera to snap him jumping like that.

All 3 came straight onto the hard standing and we collared them up. Nuka rose up on his back legs with his front paws stretched out on the fencing. He towers over us when he does this. Tundra and Tala were too busy with their own handlers and waiting to get going to bother with him.

We all set off at the expected brisk pace, being careful to avoid giant mole hills and the muddy ground. We were escorted away to a fanfare of howls from the Arctics. Nuka decided he had somewhere to go and was going to be late. I was reminded just how strong the wolves are as he launched himself across the fields, eager to get to this mythical somewhere! Mostly, Nuka is easy going and it is good to be reminded of the power he has under all the winter fur. All 3 look fantastic now their fur has thickened up and it is very good at warming up cold handler hands when we stop now and again.

We reached the half way point at the top of the copse in the farmer’s field and then, as if a swich had been flipped, we turned the corner and the wolves’ speed dramatically decreased. Time to catch our breath and regret all the layers of clothing we had put on.
Nuka found 3 different highly pungent fox poos and proceeded to roll around, covering himself in it all. A wolf in ecstasy. The smell made our eyes water, but Nuka was happy!
We headed back across the fields to the trust and down to the stream and pond in our bottom field. The wolves became interested in something unseen on the other side of the hedgerow. To our surprise, the local farmer appeared, saying he was looking for his sheep! He came into the field and calmly walked by. The wolves didn’t bother with him at all, sensing it seemed that he belonged there.
As we headed up the field and back to the enclosures, we could see his wayward sheep in the next field, while the wolves showed no interest in them at all.

On our way back inside for our lunch we spent some time greeting the Arctics and Mai, with all of them enjoying a lot of fuss from us.
After a quick break, we all got involved with more clearing of Torak’s enclosure, to get it ready for moving Massak, Pukak and Sikko there in a few weeks.

Once the sun dipped down, so did the temperature. We fed all the wolves and went into the Beenhams' enclosure for a short while. Tala and Tundra spent some time on the platform with us and then Nuka came bounding in. They didn’t stay long with us today. Nuka bounced off and clearly wanted to play, meaning we had to ignore his antics and quietly leave them for the night.

Another wonderful day with these incredible animals.

NB - Tsa, owner of the Trust, managed to get the photo of Mai in the snow last week!

Write-up and most photos by Eve, Mai photo by Tsa.
The Arctics
The Beenhams and Mai
Paws

Mai

6th November 2021

Autumn is in full swing and Saturday dawned a grey, overcast day. As is normally the case, the first order of business was taking the Beenhams out for a walk. They set off at a somewhat slower pace than usual, keen to make the most of the scents that abounded in the dew-soaked grass. We followed our usual route and it was largely uneventful until we reached Ridge's Belt, whereupon we encountered some walkers. They waited for us to pass, and watched attentively as we rounded the eastern end, then headed back onto the Trust's land.

As we headed back towards the main entrance to the wolf centre there were more walkers on the footpath that runs close by; they had a loose dog but put him on a lead as they saw the wolves! For their part, the wolves watched with great interest. The rest of the walk was uneventful and the wolves were returned to their holding area rather than the main enclosure.

After a quick coffee break, we split into groups to take care of various things, including making some scented straw sacks (for enrichment), tidying some grass which was encroaching on the hardstanding in the Beenhams' kennels and cleaning out the tortoises' area.

The Beenhams then were let loose to play with their hessian sacks and as is often the case they picked them up and trotted away with them, rolling around on them to pick up the scents. That was followed by feeding the wolves and the day finished with a brief visit into the Beenhams' enclosure - the wolves came to say hello but didn't linger for long.

Amid the gathering gloom (a reminder that winter is coming) we said goodbye to Nuka (who came over to escort us out) and set off our separate ways home.
Waterfall Nuka photo by Eve.
Torak and The Arctics
The Beenhams
Mai and Motomo
Paws

Pukak

25th September 2021

Grey skies greeted the volunteers as they arrived, but aside from the odd spot of drizzle it stayed dry. It was good weather for a wolf walk and, as usual, we started off with the Beenhams. They followed the route which they know so well, including going around the copse to the east of the Trust. There were no walkers, no deer or rabbits and not much to distract the wolves... aside, that is, from something very smelly which Nuka swiftly rolled in. We went down to the stream but there wasn't much of interest to the wolves there; we lingered briefly then headed back to their enclosure.

A quick lunch followed, then we went to see if Mai wanted to come out - she didn't, so it was time for some maintenance. While some prepared the food for the wolves, others worked on power-washing some of the kennel areas. The old webcam is now up and running again too, and if you visit it you might just catch a glimpse of the Arctics or Mai and Motomo! With the jobs completed, the wolves then enjoyed their meal of beef, chicken and (with the exception of Torak) paunch.

The day finished, as it so often does, with a visit to the Beenhams' enclosure. The came over to escort us over to their platform and Nuka was taking an especially keen interest in us all... and when we reached the platform, he said "hello" in his playful way. That gave way to a long session of stroking and making a fuss of them all, with Tala trying (mostly successfully) to avoid the gaze of her sister. Nuka remained with us until the end, although once he realised we were leaving he escorted us back out again! We then took our leave and headed our separate ways.
Beenham photos by Eve.
Torak and The Beenhams
Mai and the Arctics
Paws

Nuka

5th September 2021

A glorious Indian summer of a day at the wolf Trust today, making up for a so-so August. As the evenings are starting to draw in, the wolves’ winter coats are startIng to grow. Their tails have suddenly bushed out from close cropped whips to gorgeous full brushes and they have all taken on a fuzzy, soft-at-the-edges appearance which is very appealing. They are all well and are looking good as they get themselves ready for winter.

As the day promised to get quite warm, we took the Arctics and Beenhams out on shorter enrichment walks in the morning, keeping to the shade wherever possible. With the surrounding fields having been mowed for hay or winter barley, there was plenty to smell and inspect. Small piles of leftover hay are home to small mammals and marked by passing foxes so always attract a lot of interest, especially from Tala and Pukak. The tractors always fascinate Nuka - boy's toys! - and the odd patches of grass that have a strong diesel smell are always favoured for rolling in. Which is a vast improvement on the other favourite rolling scent of fox poo - walking behind a wolf that’s indulged heavily in that can be a challenge on the nose!

As they were out first, the Arctics had the extra treat of wallowing in the Pang tributary at the bottom of one of the Trust’s fields. The water level is quite low and the mud on the stream bed is thick so they looked like they were sporting black stockings when they came out! The Beenhams have a waterfall in their enclosure which we turned on for them after their walk although Nuka decided his trough was a better option and had a lovely time splashing about in it like a child in a paddling pool.

There’s always plenty to do on site so we busied ourselves clearing nettles, preparing the wolves’ food and keeping an eye on the tortoises as they enjoyed an amble around the grass. It was pleasing to see our older residents, Torak, Mai and Motomo, eating well and considering they are quite elderly now, are certainly in good nick for their age. As for the Arctics and Beenhams, they are in rude health and it’s hard to believe that in wolf terms, they are middle aged too. Nuka still behaves as if he’s a pup sometimes!

We ended the day with a short visit to the Beenhams in their enclosure. However Tundra was in a feisty mood and kept subduing Tala so Nuka had to intervene to break up the squabble. He does his job of keeping peace between the girls magnificently and to witness this behaviour up close is both humbling and exhilarating. Not for the faint hearted! As it’s wolf business, the handlers were ignored while things were sorted out and once the wolves were settled, we said our goodbyes. There’s always so much to learn about the wolves and their behaviour - no day at the Trust is the same.
Update by Nikki, photos by Craig.
The Beenhams
Paws

Tundra and Tala

25th July 2021

Sunday was a cloudy, humid day, in contrast to the week before. We started, as usual, with a quick run-down of the day, then set off with the Beenhams. They set off as if powered by rockets, keen to explore the outside world. They zipped round the first third of the walk but slowed down a bit as we reached the top field. The walk itself was largely uneventful, without much in the way of rolling on smelly things (Tala rolled on something, but it didn't smell to us!)

There was a deer in the fields of ripening barley but the wolves weren't overly bothered by it. After completing the walk we popped them back in their enclosure and went to check on Mai. She came over to us but seemed uncertain as to whether she wanted to go out for a walk. In the end she decided that she preferred the company of Motomo, so she didn't come out. We then visited Torak who also came over to see us. He was after food, though, and trotted off when he realised we had none.

After a quick lunch it was time to sort out the food for the wolves. The Arctics had a grandstand view of proceedings and they milled around in anticipation. They also got a great view of the tortoises, who were roaming the clover-filled grass outside the food shed. With the feeding completed, it was time for the traditional end of the day, whereby we went in with the Beenhams. There were plenty of "clunk" noises from Tundra, who has a habit of rubbing her neck on the volunteers' heads - and in doing so, her jaws close loudly. Tala joined in with some rubbing and Nuka ended up stealing the show, settling down for a long session of fuss and attention on the platform. He really was a picture of contentment as he lay there on his side - affording excellent views of his snowshoe-like paws. When you see the wolves up close you really appreciate just how much bigger he is than his sisters.

After a while we said our goodbyes, both to the wolves and each other, and headed home. Both wolves and volunteers seemed to have appreciated the return to more seasonal temperatures!
Beenham photos by Eve.
The Beenhams, Mai and Motomo
The Arctics
Paws

Nuka

3rd July 2021

An overcast and humid day at the Trust - luckily most of the wolves are now in their summer coats and weather doesn’t bother them. Mai is hanging onto her winter coat still but it’s not unusual for her to do that until late July. And as a lady of a certain age, a little extra covering is welcome.

Due to their enclosure needing a good trim and tidy up, the Arctics are currently having a summer staycation in the holding pen next to Torak. They enjoy a change of scene and Torak seems to like having neighbours for a short time. The only thing is, the Arctics like their temporary home a little too much and aren’t always inclined to come out for a walk, as was the case today. Sometimes they treat coming onto the yard like a game, dodging around the door to the kennel and play bowing, trying to encourage us in to play with them. Unfortunately for the wolves, playing with humans is not encouraged so today they stayed in when it became obvious walking was not on their agenda. They were content to laze about and watch the comings and goings on site.

The Beenhams, on the other hand, were very keen for some enrichment and set off on their walk with purpose. It soon became obvious why - there was a dog walker on the public footpath which crosses the Trust land. The locals are used to the wolves being out on their walks and keep their dogs well back so there are no encounters but the wolves are very interested in the smells they leave behind and follow the scent through the fields.

The recent warm and wet weather has meant there is a lot of plant growth all over the site and the Trust owner and volunteers are busy keeping it in check. This means moving the wolves around which is easier with the socialised animals but moving Motomo from one enclosure to the other so it can be tided is a trickier prospect due to him not being hand raised. He’s a canny boy and knows exactly what’s going on so it is a real battle of wits to move him calmly and safely. Today he gave us the runaround by loitering by the gate that divides the enclosures and only going through when he knew no one was close enough to close it before he nipped back through. Like the Arctics, it became a game to him and at that point, he knows he’s won so his move will wait for another day. Wolves are clever!

There’s always plenty to do on site so kennels were cleaned and beds laid with fresh straw, the tortoises had some outdoor time while their hutch was cleaned and the wolves’ food was prepared. They had a real treat today - volunteer Craig had brought in some fresh salmon for them. It went down very well, although Nuka decided his piece was better for rolling on than eating. He ended up festooned with little pieces of fish and looked rather pleased with himself. Once he was bored, Tundra moved in and ate the scraps he’d left - that salmon wasn’t going to be wasted!

The day ended with the wolves content and fed, resting in their enclosures.
Update and video by Nikki, photo by Ella.
Nuka and the Arctic wolves
Paws