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-Apr ,Jan-Feb
Oct-Dec, September, August, July, June, Mar-May, Feb, Jan
Dec, Nov, Oct, Sep, Aug, Jul, May/Jun, Mar/Apr , Jan/Feb
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.


27th June 2021

We turned up to an overcast sky and started off with getting the Beenhams out for an hour's walk today as we were mindful there were maintenance jobs to be done which we wanted completed before the forecasted lightning and thunder struck mid afternoon.

We set off with the Beenhams at quite a pace, taking the route up via the copse, far away from our top fields where the tractor was currently cutting back the long grass, making a lovely wide path for us all by the time we'd worked our way round to that field. Finishing off via the 'bluebell wood' into the log field, where we eyed a beautiful wild orchid. This field is adjacent to the Beenhams' home so we could hear the tractor had now made its way down into their enclosure, finishing off cutting the long grass in there.

Fortunately the tractor was at the back of their enclosure as we put the wolves back into their adjacent holding pen area - not that they seemed at all fazed by the sound of it so close - over the years they'd seen it all before so knew the drill!

We stopped to have a bite of lunch then set to work on the two enclosures the tractor had now vacated, being the Beenhams' and Arctics' enclosures - who are currently Torak's 'short-let' neighbours in his holding pen.

Their enclosures 'spruce up' today consisted of cutting back the tall thistles and nettles and the like, by hand and strimmer, removing sections of branches which had become rotten from their fallen trees and were entangled in the long grass and thistles, power washing and re-filling troughs, having firstly laid down some concrete slabs for support.

It was good to see our little Jenny Wren's brood had now all fledged from where she'd previously taken up residence under the wooden cover that encased the water tap, as it meant we could finally use it to power wash the Beenhams' trough.

Having prepared all the wolves' food (and tortoises) a quick hello to the Arctics was in order before getting on with feeding all the critters.

We also noticed next to the food shed, amongst where our wolves' memorial rocks lay, an explosion of little bright orange flowers had shot up this year - a delight to the eye.

Finally, having released the Beenhams back into their main enclosure, despite the forecast, we were fortunate to get away with a light dousing when going in to visit them. We were about to leave them when the bells of a distant ice cream van rang out, causing the Beenhams to respond by howling, which in turn started all the other wolves on site to a crescendo group howl - a perfect finish to a busy but enjoyable day.
Update by Sue, photo by Matt.

19th June 2021

After torrents of rain yesterday, the skies were still heavy and a gunmetal grey as we all arrived this morning. However, the day was much cooler and therefore our 2 long walks with the Arctic and Beenham packs did not leave us wilting in the sun!

Massak, Pukak and Sikko were first out and eager to come onto the hard standing and get out and about. We all got wet legs, especially us short handlers, due to long grass in the fields that appears to have grown a metre in a week! All 3 wolves enjoyed their walk, with a lot of sniffing through the grass and some rolling, thankfully not in anything too smelly today. None of them are looking at their best due to the massive amount of moulting going on and are sporting interesting tail designs. We relieved them of some of their itchy fur along the way.

All 3 were returned to the large holding area next to Torak’s enclosure as we intend to have the tractor into their main enclosure to cut the grass in the coming weeks. They were quite happy to go in there and Torak came along to investigate his new temporary neighbours.

After a short break we took the Beenhams out. Nuka was very exuberant on the hard standing and clearly very happy to come out. Tundra took the lead and we all set off with our fully charged wolves. They were also keen to wander into the long grass, resulting in our legs getting wet again, but we don’t mind. It is their walk and with some encouragement when needed, they mostly follow a set route, sometimes veering off to investigate flattened grass suggesting another animal (deer maybe) has been lounging around.
The pace slowed as we hit the mid-point and made our way back to the Trust and down to the stream. Nuka made a beeline for the exact spot where he buried a pig’s ear he’d randomly picked up in this field, back on 2nd April. He buried it back then and had shown no interest in that spot since then. Today he had a dig, pulled it up and ate it! This was a great piece of behaviour to see from him. It was by now very smelly… Tala and Tundra came along to investigate but by them the only thing remaining was the smell!
We duly returned them to their enclosure and stopped for some lunch.

The rest of the afternoon involved some strimming and grass cutting. The tortoises stretched their legs outside for about 2 hours and spent some time munching on clover. There was a lot of howling from all the wolves throughout the day, which is always a joy to hear.

On the first attempt Mai didn’t choose to come out on a walk. After a while, once all the machinery had stopped, she came out and decided to inspect the whole of the Trust site. She took us down past the Education room, turned around and took as up to the top past the Observation room, taking some interest in our cars.
Torak came to see what she was up to, but she hardly gave him a glance. Showing no interest in venturing further afield, she went back into her enclosure with Motomo.

All the food was now prepared and feeding the wolves we noted they all had good appetites again today.
We entered the Beenhams' enclosure before going home. They appeared very grateful to have lots of deep scratches from us to loosen and remove their moulting fur. As per his character, Nuka was upside down on the floor, revelling in the attention. Tundra had a couple of grumbles at Tala, but Nuka told her off and calm was restored. With big smiles and arms aching due to all the fur removing, we left them to themselves, all 3 looking a bit slimmer!
Update and photos by Eve.
The Arctics and Mai
Motomo, Torak and the Beenhams

13th June 2021

It was a early start today to ensure we got the wolves back in their enclosures before the weather got hot. The wolves were still eager to come out and were certainly not slowing down in the warm. No stopping for fusses today .Once back we had time for a leisurely coffee break before we started maintenance. Most of the work completed today was light duty stuff ie checking the wolf perimeters and strimming back a few areas. The tortoises had a spa whilst their living areas were cleaned.

The older wolves were staying at the back of their enclosures where the grass is very long and provides plenty of shade for them to chill in. The younger wolves ie the Beenhams and the Arctics happily walk along side us when we are checking their enclosures. The wolves also made use of the troughs which had been scrubbed out the week before.

We ate our lunch in the shade and then got ice lollies for the wolves as enrichment. Normally these are stuffed with treats ie hot dogs, fish, blood etc however today they were having just plain ice. Initially they looked a bit puzzled but soon started chomping them. Massak amazed us all by walking along with a piece of ice in his mouth that was about 6 inches long and which he carried lengthways. This really does show how huge his jaw is. Sadly no one was quick enough to get a picture. Nuka stole Tala's ice to use as a seat. A quick bit of distraction by us got him to move so she could steal it back again.

The wolves were fed and we all went into the enclosure to spend a bit of quality time with the Beenhams. Nuka just wanted to lie down with his legs stuck up and be fussed on his tummy.
A great day had by all.

Update by Cammie.

6th June 2021

A very warm and muggy day at the wolf trust today, but there was still plenty of activity!

The Beenhams came out to enjoy their walk and as usual came out full of beans. There was plenty to see and smell and tickles to enjoy from their handlers. They particularly like a bit of fuss right now as it comes with the added bonus of being de-fluffed of those hot winter coats. It comes out in handfuls and seems to be never ending!

Not too much rolling in smelly stuff today, but Nuka did enjoy rubbing and rolling himself along a feeding trough in one of the fields several times. No Arctic walk today but they still got a turn with the de-fluffing through the fence, the evidence of which was clear to see.

It was maintenance afternoon for the handlers today, with everyone getting stuck into cleaning kennels and water troughs, as well as plenty of strimming. Then it was dinner time for the wolves. Though the kites did try to muscle in on the action by swooping down and trying to catch Motomo’s food as it was being thrown over to him.

We ended the day by going in with the Beenhams, who got to enjoy yet more fuss and help shedding those winter coats. There is now a spot in their enclosure that looks more like a grooming station with all the fur that’s on the floor!

Update by Deborah, photos by Eve.
Mai, Motomo and the Arctics
Beenhams and a kite

30th May 2021

I arrived on site with the weather being 7 degrees cooler than when I had left my house. That is not a bad thing as it is nicer to walk the wolves when the weather is cool. Tsa, the Director and her son were already working with the tractor in the enclosures mowing the long grass. The wolves are kept safe in their holding areas at this time.

Torak's enclosure was completed first and the Beenhams' straight after that. It was whilst the tractor was coming down the site to the Beenhams that we were trying to get the Arctics out for their walk. Wolves are naturally skittish and Sikko was not sure about coming out. Patience is required here and once she had been giving enough time to see that all was well she came out to join her brothers. It was a pleasant walk at the Arctics normal slow pace around the fields. Whilst we were out a group on volunteers washed and scrubbed out the water troughs and re filled with cold clean water.

The Beenhams were next up after a quick refreshment for us. These wolves are very different to walk. I walked Nuka and although sometimes they walk very quickly when they come out of the enclosure he was not slowing down at all today. We stopped at the trough near the gate by the main road to see if the wolves wanted a drink as the sun had now come out and it was getting warm. Nuka didn't just want a drink he wanted to be splashed all over. Veda, one of our volunteers obliged and smothered him in water whilst he went all silly. Once she stopped he got in the trough himself to cool himself off. The girls were not that interested. We then had to put them back in their holding area as the trough inside their enclosure was still being cleaned. Craig, another volunteer was busy strimming the rocky areas of Torak's enclosure.

Mai was then given the opportunity to come out for a walk. She was sat under the tree in a nice shady spot and didn't appear to be interested at first. She then changed her mind but seemed to want to complete her circuit as quickly as she could. Normally she likes to stop and have a fuss with everyone but today she was racing ahead at full speed. Although her back end is showing her 15 years of age she can still pull us and is incredibly strong. When she passed the Beenhams they got very excited however she ignored them all and just kept up her pace. Once back in her enclosure it was time to fence run with the Arctics with Motomo following her whilst trying to get all the smells she had bought back.

The tortoises didn't miss out either today as they had a nice bath.
Three successful walks plus plenty of maintenance completed today.
Update by Cammie.

23rd May 2021

A largely cloudy and cool day greeted the volunteers as we arrived on Saturday. Torak appeared briefly, then it was time to set out the plan for the day.

As usual, a Beenham walk was first on the agenda. This was my first visit of the year and Nuka made a point of coming over to say "hello". With pleasantaries exchanged, we set off through the log field and eastwards along the long copse - no walkers along there today and the walk as a whole was largely unevenful. There was a Muntjac deer in the top field, near the main road through Beenham, but the wolves weren't really interested. They were far more keen on the rather smelly deposits lying around and both Tundra and Tala gave off a pungent aroma by the end of the walk!

We came back via the "bluebell woods" section (to the immediate east of the enclosures) and then went down to the stream. This time the wolves preferred the water of the pond to the stream, the pond having been topped up by plenty of recent rain.

With the walk over, there was a quick lunch break and then on to the next walk - with Mai. Sometimes Mai takes some coaxing, but not this time... she saw us coming and trotted up to the enclosure gate, much to Motomo's displeasure. He howled, she was collared up and off we went, with the other wolves by now howling too. Despite her advanced years, Mai still sets a brisk pace and even more so when she's going down hill. Two hares darted from the grass as we descended, but Mai wasn't bothered. We passed the Beenhams' enclosure and then she turned tail and headed back up the hill - a bit more slowly than on the way down!

The tortoises were brought out for a time as the wolves' food was prepared, much to the interest of the Arctics. We then fed the wolves (with the kites doing their best to join in), with the Arctics getting some pheasants as well as the more usual chicken and beef.

The end of the day saw us going in with the Beenhams, with the two sisters eager to share their smelly perfume with us - Nuka, meanwhile, stayed for a good while and seemed to enjoy having a fuss made of him. All three wolves are moulting and by the time we left there were tufts of their fur all around the wooden platform.

With a few spots of rain in the air, we said our goodbyes and headed for home.

Most photos by Eve.
Mai and Motomo
Arctics, Tala
Mai video

8th May 2021

On Saturday we woke up to a wet and windy day but all of us dressed up in our finest rainy day gear ready for a woflie day! And what a lovely day it was! We started the day with a Beenham walk! The wolves had a good sniff about and enjoyed a little tickle from their human friends. We ventured into the back field where Tala had a good investigation of the old badger sett, at the bottom of the field the stream was lovely and full, so Nuka and Tundra went for a dip in wolf creek and wandered down stream, Tala found a stick further down the stream and that was far more interesting but did enjoy a little dip whilst exploring the opposite bank!
Nuka and Tala then took turns wriggle rolling in the smelliest smell, which I think we all went home having a whiff of by the end of the day!

We also asked Mai if she wanted to come out and enjoy a stretch of her legs. We had thought she turned us down but after walking back to Motomo and giving him a little huff as if to say I'm going out for a bit, she decided to come out with us! We took her in the field behind Motomo so they could keep a loving eye on each other. Mai was so relaxed on her walk and even went round the group to enjoy a little fuss, even a little roll on Nikki's boots. Once she decided she had been away from Motomo for long enough she slowly headed off back up the hill back home to share with him the sniffs of the outside world!

The Arctic wolves enjoyed the usual fence tickles and at the same time sharing some lovely mud with us as they splish splash in all the puddles.

After the wolves' dinner had gone down we went in to see the Beenhams and they all enjoyed a fuss and in turn shared the smelly stench they all rolled in during the walk. Tala went off first to the second platform, over looking us but quickly falling asleep, Nuka was nice and socialable staying a while for some belly rubs before disappearing into the trees, leaving Tundra to enjoy all the fuss and nearly falling asleep on the platform.
The wolves have all had a fabulous weekend and we left them all snoozing under the late afternoon sunshine!

Update by Ella, photos by Craig.
Mai and the Beenhams

2nd May 2021

We all arrived prepared for all types of weather today. After a pre-brief by the Senior handlers, first out were the Arctics, Massak, Sikko and Pukak. They couldn’t wait to get out and you’d think they would be charging off to explore their territory. However, the aptly named walks we used to do with the public, ‘An Arctic Amble’, is still very suited to them. They are fully engaged with their surroundings, sniffing and scenting as we go along, but they really do amble along.
Although it was a long walk, they slowed down even more as we headed back to their enclosure, with more dawdling than walking. Mai and Motomo got all excited at seeing them come back and stood expectantly by the dividing fence, waiting to fence run with the Arctics once they were back home.

We had a short lunch break and headed down to walk out with the Beenhams. As we neared their enclosure there was a lot of squeaking and growling going on. Nuka was giving Tundra a very robust telling off, we suspect as she was picking on her sister Tala. Nuka sometimes has quite enough of the squabbling and puts Tundra in her place! Although it seemed a very active telling off, within a few minutes all was forgotten and although this always sounds harsh, never hurt each other.
We set off a breakneck speed. This is normal for the Beenham pack and with the added recent adrenaline kick left over from the fracas, they were turbo charged.
After a while they slowed down somewhat and we had a long and lovely walk with them. We had sun and then rain which turned into hail, thankfully for a short time only. They found some exceedingly smelly deposits to roll around in and we also witnessed them burying noses in holes searching for maybe moles under the soil, but came up empty mouthed today.

As Mai was showing interest in the day’s proceedings her handlers went to see if she wanted to come out. For the rest of us further away, the sign she was out was Motomo’s howling!
With Mai stalking off around the field behind their enclosures, Motomo led the rest of the wolves with a long and tuneful howling session. This is always something to really enjoy and not what you hear around the UK countryside.

The tortoises had their walk around while we cleaned their pen and prepared all the food for the day.
All the wolves had a good appetite today, not leaving much for the swooping kites today.
The day turned decidedly chilly as we happily left after our exhilarating day with the wolves.

Update by Eve, photos by Craig.
Mai and the Arctics