What are the wolves up to?

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Nov/Dec 2018 and Sep/Oct 2018

Mosi and Torak

18th January 2020

A sunny, crisp morning greeted the volunteers when they arrived at the Trust, along with Mosi - she usually takes a keen interest as we all arrive.

We started, as we so often do, with a Beenham walk. The chill in the air seemed to impart extra energy to them and they took off at something not far off a trot. It was quite a work-out and they carried on for over half a mile before finally coming to a halt... and even then they'd quite happily have carried on, we only stopped so that one of the senior handlers could make sure no walkers were waiting around the corner. There were in fact people out and about, with a dog, but far enough away that the wolves paid no heed. The wolves then chose a slower pace, albeit still brisk by the standards of the old members' walks that we used to do. There was some ice in one of the water troughs and Nuka enjoyed himself licking and biting it; his sisters were far less interested. After going around the bottom field (with a good deal of squelching due to the soggy ground), we returned the wolves to their enclosure.

We took a quick break, then collected Mai's collar and lead. She watched with interest and was keen to come out, tail fluffed up and held high... she can't resist showing off to her sister when she goes past. Mai put on a good turn of speed, too, although compared to the Beenhams' walk it was much more sedate. We went around the top field and she thoroughly enjoyed herself, albeit she didn't fancy a dip in the pond. After the pond she made her mind up that she wanted to return to Motomo, so we headed back to her enclosure.

Mosi and Torak were milling around in the corner of their enclosure, watching us with Mai. They're ever hopeful of a walk and their wish was granted, for we had just enough handlers to take them out. We started off by following the route Mai took, with Mosi over-scenting where her former packmate had been. We went down by the pond and then, as Mosi seemed to be doing well, headed through "bluebell wood" to the log field. This was especially slippery due to fallen leaves and mud, but we made it through without any mishaps. We circled the field, a place they've not been to for a considerable time, then took them back to their enclosure. They really seemed to enjoy their walk, even with the odd bark from the Arctics (who were watching us in the log field).

With the three walks completed, we’d covered just under four miles (half of that with the Beenhams). Lunch followed, both for us and the wolves (but not the red kites, who were circling around in the hope of some scraps).
We finished the day with a visit inside the Beenhams' enclosure, where the muddied wolves received plenty of ear-rubs and stroking, while Tundra was able to rub her neck on the volunteers as she so loves to do. We stayed with them for quite a while, with both wolves and volunteers enjoying the moment. We left with the afternoon sun turning everything a golden hue, including the wolves; it was another enjoyable day.

Some photos by Eve.
Mosi and Torak
Motomo and the Arctics


12th January 2020

After more torrential rain and strong winds it was a relief to arrive at the Trust with sun blazing.

Due to some handlers being sick, we had just enough handlers to take out Nuka, Tundra and Tala.
We set off on their walk early to take advantage of the sunshine. All 3 were very keen to get going. I was handling Tundra who appeared to be rocket propelled throughout most of the walk. After last week with the big air balloons spooking them and they wouldn’t come out, it was great to see them so keen.
Tundra was clearly keeping an eye on Tala and walking across her path with tail in the air, so it looks like their hormone levels are rising now as we enter the breeding season.
Nuka was delighted when he found some strong smelling fox deposits and made sure he coated all of his collar as well as himself when rolling around on the ground in ecstasy!
Tundra decided to roll around by the pond and literally rolled herself into the pond which we all found quietly amusing. We got paid back for our amusement as she shook herself all over us so we all go wet.

After an energetic walk made slightly more challenging due to so much thick mud everywhere, we had a quick break and then went to take Mai out. She stormed off with her exceedingly bushy tail in the air. We took her out to the field behind the enclosures and all the wolves followed her progress with interest while we admired a rainbow! Mai clearly wanted to go over to her 'pups' but we steered her away to avoid any confrontation.
We then stopped for lunch and went off to clean the leaves off the wolves' hard standings and prepare their food. The tortoises' pen also got cleaned out and they were given fresh food.

Torak and Mosi were keen to go out but due to not enough of their handlers we couldnt so they had to make do with fusses through the fence. Mosi was keen to do a lot of talking so we howled along with her for most of the day.
The Arctics were also happy for fusses as well. Due to the breeding season we won't take then out until February now. They will still get plenty of exercise in their large enclosure as they do chase each other around and play during dawn and dusk which we rarely get to see. It’s a great sight to see when they do play around and their speed is impressive as they zoom around.

We fed all the wolves and noted down who was hungry and who wasn't so we can monitor the amounts they are given. Pukak and Massak were posturing over the odd chicken bone laying around. Although Massak had his tail in air and growling, he never actually took any food from Pukak, who being extremely food focussed was most probably a wise decision!

Having finished for the day we all went into the Beenhams' enclosure for some personal time with Nuka, Tundra and Tala. The girls in particular enjoyed a lot of ear massaging and turned around indicating

Photos and write-up by Eve.
Mosi, Motomo, Massak and a rainbow


4th January 2020

Happy New Year!

The first weekend of the new decade started on a mild and overcast note. As I approached Beenham I saw the leaden skies were brightened by some hot air balloons, but as I was to find out that wasn't a good thing!

It turned out the balloons had flown low close to the Trust. The Beenhams were particularly unsettled as a result and they couldn't be encouraged into the holding area; we usually put them in there before they go on a walk.
Leaving the Beenhams, we went to see if Mai wanted to come out. She didn't at first, but she was happy to have a fuss through the fence. Gradually the fussing moved further and further along the enclosure fence, ending up close to the gate... at which point Mai trotted onto the hardstanding. She was subsequently collared-up and on the way to the top field she found a pile of something really smelly; she rolled, scratched and scraped in delight. The now-befouled Mai held her tail high as she circled the top field, thoroughly enjoying herself. You certainly wouldn't have guessed that she was coming up to 14 with the speed of her walk. After inspecting the pond she decided that was enough and headed back to her enclosure. Motomo as ever was waiting attentively, but as usual Mai ignored him and instead went to fence-run with the Arctics.

After cleaning up the soiled collar and lead, it was time for Mosi and Torak to shine. Torak was keen, but Mosi was nowhere to be found; we thought perhaps the sight of a couple of ladders (being used for some repairs to the education room) had spooked her. It turns out she was at the far corner of her enclosure and once she realised we wanted to take her out she came barrelling down to the gate. She followed Mai's path for most of the walk and was just as fascinated as Mai was with the smelly stuff. Mosi also set a brisk pace, albeit not quite as fast as her sister. She took a drink at the pond and then also headed back. Torak, meanwhile, seemed to be delighted to see the top field: it'd been some months since he last went up there, as his usual walk is along the back field. Indeed, it seemed Torak could quite happily have gone for a longer walk! Before walking into the enclosure Mosi came around to the volunteers, howling, asking in her way for a bit of a fuss from everyone... this was gladly given.

There was some time for a fuss of Mai through the fence and also for the Arctics, who are always keen for a bit of attention. They're looking particularly large and fluffy at the moment and it's a wonder how, given all the mud, they still retain their near-white colouring. The answer is in the oils in the wolf's coat; they're especially good at repelling dirt and it's how the wolves end up looking neat and tidy despite all the mud that's around at this time of year.

With two walks completed, we tried again with the Beenhams. They were still not keen on coming out, so instead we went into their enclosure to give them a fuss. Nuka came over briefly, flicking his tongue out as he approached, while his sisters both rubbed their necks (quite forcefully!) on the volunteers' heads. It made a change for them not to be ponging of various substances. They didn't linger with us for long (it seems those balloons really had unnerved them). We left and started preparing the wolves' food.
Feeding was uneventful (no kites to steal Motomo's food, although some appeared at the end of feeding) and having tidied up we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways.

Some photos by Eve.
Mosi and Torak
Mai and Motomo