What are the wolves up to?
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It was another windy day but not cold or raining.
The first job of the morning is to check all wolves are present and OK. The wolves usually accompany us by walking alongside us albeit inside their enclosures. It soon became apparent this morning that Massak was very cross with Pukak. He was growling and chasing him and Pukak’s best submissive behaviour was not stopping this.
The Arctics were first out and were very excitable. They have not been out as much recently due to the breeding season when their hormone levels increase. Trying to collar them was great fun as we are unable to separate them due to the enclosure they are in not having separate bed blocks. We got there eventually and after a bit of initial growing at Pukak Massak settled down to enjoy his walk. We took them quite a way before eventually heading back.
A quick coffee break for us and the Beenhams were up next. Usually the Beenhams come charging out straight away but just as I opened the gate some people appeared on the public footpath and walked towards the Arctics. Sikko gave an alarm bark which stopped the Beenhams in their tracks. Tala was the only brave one who came out and stop up at the end of her enclosure so she could see what was going on and what the fuss was about. Sean appeared which meant the people moved on and as soon as the Arctics stopped reacting the Beenhams came out. They are always keen on their walks and as ever they were a pleasure. Some deep water meant there was lots of paddling in the pond and stream.
Next up was Mai. She comes up very easily nowadays but actually seems to want to have lots of fuss. Whist I try and collar her she is reversing into me so she gets attention. As soon as she is out she seeks out the people she knows and goes for a quick fuss. She mostly does not go very far before she wants to return but she did enjoy posing for photos amongst the daffodils. Mai is much thinner than the other wolves and does not have the same appetite she once had however when she wants to return to Motomo there is no hanging around. She is still incredibly strong and will drag her handler along behind her.
All wolves were then fed with Mai getting an extra treat of Sardines to try and encourage her to eat more. A jar of sprats were found in the food shed so someone thought it was a good idea to mash these into the fish. She clearly wasn’t fussed on the sprats as she kept dropping them out of her mouth onto the floor. Motomo also does not like fish but thinks it makes great aftershave. As we left, we could see he was rolling in the sprats and then with them stuck in his fur he was fence running alongside the Arctics to drive them mad with the smell.
As ever a great day at the Trust with the wolves showing their playful fun side.
Update written by Cammie.
10th March 2019
We all arrived at the trust having managed to negotiate fallen branches and flooded roads on the journey in.
The wolves didn’t seem unduly concerned about the windy conditions today. Sometimes it can make them a bit skittish.
We watched a pheasant who had found his way into Torak and Mosi’s enclosure. Torak walked straight past him and Mosi showed a vague interest. We noted the pheasant then appeared to be hiding behind a log for some time!
Our first task was to try and lure Torak and Mosi into their holding enclosure, which is still a large enclosure for them. The reason is due to some maintenance work to be carried out later in the week. Cammie took Linda and I off armed with 2 tins of fish as Torak loves this treat.
Mosi came up to us and get very interested in her fish! Torak knew exactly what we were up to and refused to walk through into the holding area, watching Cammie all the time, knowing she would close the gate once he was in there. After some time, Cammie left and walked away out of sight to see if that would change his mind. We watched him looking for her to appear further up the drive to ensure she really had gone, but when she didn’t show, he walked further off into the main enclosure. We gave up... Another example of just how intelligent they are and how good their memories are.
We all then wrapped up warm and went out with the Beenhams for their walk. Once again they were all very keen. Tala was pawing at the gate to get out as soon as her collar was on.
The weather was very windy but seemed to cause us more disturbance than the wolves. Nuka failed to find a dead squirrel this week. Interestingly they all stopped in the field were the dog walker with dog was last week and stubbornly just stood there for a few minutes, maybe hoping they would reappear.
All 3 wolves were keen to have a paddle in the stream and pond. Tundra got in right up to her belly, although from what I saw I don’t think she intended to go in that far! Once she hopped up the back, she had a vigorous shake, soaking me in mud and water. At this point I reminded myself it is their walk to do what they want (within reason).
Once again they all practised their rolling in something very smelly technique and seemed very pleased with themselves afterwards.
We all stopped for a bit of a break and warm up after they were back in their enclosure and then prepared their food and checked on the tortoises. They were both all snuggled up in their hay, so we left them alone and gave them fresh food.
Meanwhile, we checked to see if Mai wanted to come out for a walk, which she did. I rushed off to get camera and GoPro and caught up in a couple of minutes. All of the wolves were howling continuously and Mai stopped to listen. She then decided she’d have to go back and see what was going on, so it was about turn for Neil and Linda as they were unceremoniously marched back to her enclosure. I managed to get a quick couple of photos though! Motomo was waiting for her as she ran off to tease the Arctics with him in hot pursuit.
All the wolves ate their food quite quickly today, although Torak and Mosi took their time. There is now no sign of the pheasant...
We all went into the Beenhams' enclosure to socialise with them. All 3 stayed with us for a long time today. Tundra gave everyone a good head rub, resulting in us all going home with a rather pungent aroma hanging around. It looks like the breeding season is over for these 3 as Tala was allowed onto the platform by Tundra. For the last few months Tundra, being the alpha female, has chased her off, so we have been giving Tala sneaky fusses under the platform when Tundra wasn’t looking. Nuka was his usual playful self, at one point literally having his front paws on Pete (who was sitting on the platform) while he snuffled all around Pete’s head and shoulders.
Reluctantly we all left and headed home, marvelling at how lucky we are to have the opportunity to be around these wonderful wolves. Update written by Eve.
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2nd March 2019
Spring has arrived at the Trust and it was a mild, breezy day which greeted the volunteers as they arrived. Mosi and Torak watched the arrivals as usual and after we'd all had a drink we headed down to the Beenhams. The wolves were as eager as ever; indeed, Nuka fairly skipped along in his happiness. This was somewhat short-lived, though, as he soon found a decaying squirrel underneath a leaf pile. We didn't want him to have it, so after a short distance he dropped it and was taken away from it.
We went around the long strip of woodland known as Ridges' Belt and as we rounded the far end Nuka spied a small dog coming towards us (off the lead). He, of course, wanted to get closer than we'd allow and after realising that he wasn't going to have an impromptu "meet and greet" with the dog, he slowly plodded along, the spring having gone from his step.
Still, Nuka's never down for long and he perked up again as we came back around the large field near the allotments. His mood (as well as that of his sisters) improved further when Lara, Tsa's daughter, came over to say hello. It's a wonderful sight to see the wolves around her, for they give a most enthusiastic greeting!
Lara then accompanied us down past their enclosure and down to the Bourne, whereupon the wolves had an extended break. I was with Tundra at this stage, who delighted in stopping by everyone in turn, asking for a fuss. Nuka did his trademark "flop" and indeed all the wolves seemed especially contented.
We then had a break ourselves, for lunch, then took Mai out for a short walk. She was keen to come out, but equally keen to return to Motomo after a short while - she's always torn between her desire to see the outside world and her desire for Motomo!
We then said hello to the Arctics, before heading into the Beenhams' enclosure. As is traditional, Tundra did her neck rubbing (where she lifts herself up, then "flomps" on our heads, rubbing herself) and Nuka eyed me up for some fun. In the end he flopped on his side, keeping a watchful eye - I suspect he was thinking of his game of last month. However, others came over and joined in the fuss and in the end he decided having several people stroking him was better than bounding to all fours!
After a while the wolves drifted away and we went to prepare their food; a mixture of beef, chicken and paunch.
The wolves were generally keen to eat their food and before long we were washing out their food buckets and saying our goodbyes - another successful day at the Trust!
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