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:
Mar-May, Feb, Jan
Dec, Nov, Oct, Sep, Aug, Jul, May/Jun, Mar/Apr , Jan/Feb
Nov/Dec 2018 and Sep/Oct 2018
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, updates will be few and far between. Rest assured that the wolves are still receiving excellent care from our volunteers, there are just fewer of them on site.
28th June 2020
We were an all-female volunteer group of 5 arriving at the trust to a mixture of sun, wind and rain. The dread of not being greeted by Mosi was felt by all of us. The silence was deafening.
As there were Torak handlers it was decided to see if he would come out for a walk. Due to the relaxing of restrictions, Torak and Mai may be walked as they are single wolves and the two handlers can maintain the social distance. All chains are cleaned at the end of the walk. There was no sight of Torak and he hadn’t come down to see us when we arrived. After calling and coaxing him for quite some time he did appear. He seemed very wary of the Seniors, who he’s known all his life and would not come close to them, or to the hard standing. We surmised this could be a mixture of not having been out for a walk for a long time due to the lockdown and, the last time he saw Mosi on the hard standing, she did not come back...
Sue and Cammie had a great idea of taking Mai out first. By walking around the back field, Torak would see us out with her and we hoped it would reassure him that life for him was going to be ok.
Motomo was not happy Mai was interested in going out, trotting up to her and fussing around her. She came to the open gate, turned round and went back to him, made a fuss of him and then came straight in to the handlers waiting to collar her up. It looked as if she was reassuring him. Motomo started howling straightaway which set all the other wolves off. This is a wonderful chorus of howls to hear.
We set off and Mai certainly had a bounce in her step, defying her age of 14. We headed out into the back field, walking past Torak’s enclosure. On the first pass by we didn’t see him, but the second time, he watched with interest. We thought Mai would head back to Motomo quite early into the walk, but ignoring his howls, she strode off to the bottom of the field and wandered around the pond. She appeared to thoroughly enjoy her walk!
Whilst 3 of us stayed in the Observation room, Sue and Linda went on to the hard standing for Torak. He was already waiting close by and came straight to them. Once collared up, the rest of us came out and watched to make sure he was relaxed to have us along for his walk.
We also went to the back field with him where we did a complete round. He showed interest in the walk and went to the stream and pond. He sniffed about and rolled around in something very smelly. It was a relief to see him out and although he is an aloof wolf, he didn’t show any signs of discomfort.
After the walk, we had the tortoises out for their daily exercise, where they munched on clover for a couple of hours.
I went to all the troughs again with the hose to top them all up. The Arctics as usual were keen to get involved. Massak gulped water down from the stream of the hose, attempting to fool me… after a while he tried to grab the end of the hose of course! The Arctics are still in the holding enclosure next to Torak and it was good to see him loitering around and sitting near them.
Further down, while I was filling troughs in the Arctics main enclosure, Mai and Motomo came through the open tractor gates in between the two enclosures to see what I was up to. Motomo loitered in there for ages, but always has an eye on where everyone else is. He is a master at not getting locked into the Arctics enclosure while the grass is cut in his and Mai’s enclosure! It is a game of cat and mouse for some days until we finally get him in there, can close the tractor gates and safely cut the grass!
We all went into the Beenhams enclosure and were met very enthusiastically by all 3 wolves. There were heavy and prolonged head rubs from the girls and, unusual for him, even Nuka had a go. He clearly wanted to play but he did behave himself. Tala and Tundra were very happy to have their massage slaves back! Nuka also had his fair share of scratching and massaging. All 3 still have some itchy winter fur to come out and the ecstatic looks on their faces were priceless. When we left the enclosure we had to look at 3 disappointed faces at the gate…..The message was clear – we have missed you.
We fed them all and had swooping kites joining in as well. All wolves ate very well and Torak also ate all his food. It was encouraging to see him more involved with everything that was going on as the day progressed.
The tortoises were put back into their now pristine enclosure, courtesy of Fausta, ignoring the newly prepared food, most probably full of clover!
Reluctantly we had to leave them all as the day raced away far too quickly. However, all time is precious with them, made even more special today by being back in the enclosure with the Beenhams and getting out on a couple of walks.
Motomo video by Fausta, write-up, photos and the general video by Eve.
6th June 2020
The sun was shining as I set out for the Trust, the first time I'd been in four months. The forecast was for rain and as I drove westwards the clouds bubbled up. By the time I arrived at the Trust it was overcast and windy, feeling more like March than June! In due course the rain arrived, but as it was generally light it wasn't too bothersome.
There was no sign of Mosi and Torak, as they'd been put in their holding area - they're put in there when it's windy or when we need to mow the grass. Torak really doesn't like going in there and we have to be inventive in order to coax him in!
While I sorted out some IT issues, the others got on with preparing food, mowing the grass outside the enclosures and cleaning out the troughs - with the wolves watching from the holding area. The wolves gave them an enthusiastic welcome, with plenty of wagging tails.
We set up a food trail for the Beenhams, who were watching eagerly from their holding pen. I'd brought some horse hair and raw fleece from a sheep, generously donated by a farming neighbour of mine: as Nuka is fascinated by horses, it would be interesting to see what he'd make of some hair.
There were three distinct areas of food, in theory one per wolf. In practice they all zoomed over to the far area, then went round the other two. The final area was the horse/fleece area and, upon sniffing out the horse hair, Nuka then pee'd on it. I guess that's his way of saying "mine".
The fleece was more interesting. A large chunk was placed on a stump inside a shrub and all three wolves warily looked at it, darting in, then shooting off backwards. Nuka eventually worked up enough courage to tear off a bit, then rolled all over it. Tala was watching and also helped herself to a chunk, seeming to like the texture of it. In between, they were foraging for bits of meat, or bits of paunch draped over the branches. They seemed to enjoy themselves, and we certainly enjoyed watching them.
The other wolves were fed as usual, with the kites circling round during Motomo's feeding. They didn't get anything this time, though! Mosi was keen on chicken and even turned down paunch, which is most unlike her - the wolves do go through phases of preferring different food.
We had our own lunches afterwards, then there was some more maintenance, including weeding and more trough-filling. Coconuts were hollowed out by one of the volunteers, to be stuffed with meat. I left soon afterwards (as I had a long journey home), but the others stayed on. Eve continues the story below...
The coconuts were stuffed with hot dogs, chicken and the salmon and fish I'd brought. They all loved them. Mosi stole Torak's. Later we heard a commotion and poor Torak was getting told off by her for trying to get his back! Nuka walked off with his – always entertaining to see them trotting around with their prizes! Torak showed his disgust at being in the holding area – it is still a large area but he always misses his main enclosure home. If a wolf could look disgusted, Torak wins the prize.
The tortoises enjoyed time outside and also had a race across the floor of the education room while their pen was cleaned out. Deborah prepared a gourmet dinner for them which they promptly trampled all over!
We finished up the day in the top enclosure with Tsa, the owner of the Trust, taking out old sacks, coconuts and bones, ready for the tractor to cut the grass on the following day. She intends to get all of the enclosures cut over the next few weeks.
We all had such a rewarding day with the wolves and hope now that restrictions are slowly lifting it won’t be another 2 months until we see them again.
Some photos, "UK Wolf Conservation Trust 6th June 2020" video and part of the update by Eve.
Motomo, food, coconuts and a clean trough