Redheaded Neanderlady

Redheaded Neanderlady
This is a photoshopped version of something I found in National Geographic about the time I started researching

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wandering white wolves

Well, here goes.  My first blog on the subjects I mentioned yesterday is going to be -- gasp! -- wolves.  Partly because it's late at night(I got home kinda late tonight, and I'm tired and sore from exercises), and partly because some of the things I'm going to be blogging about over the next few days are going to require long blog posts. 


This isn't about the wolves of Washington State this time, though you can all be sure I'll be blogging about them whenever there's news about whatever is going on with those particular wolves.  This post is about a wolf pack that has been traveling around Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands, which are jammed up there, very close to the North Pole.  It's still dark up there; the sun won't rise again for maybe another ten days or two weeks(and if you want to know where Ellesmere Island or Axel Heiberg Island are, Google Earth would be a good place to start).  In any case, these wolves have traveled over the ice, presumably in search of muskoxen to dine on(their principal food, apparently), from Ellesmere Island to Axel Heiberg Island, and back, and now they appear to be traveling south toward a tiny settlement called Grise Fjord, whose inhabitants are all Inuit, and probably shot most of the wolves that lived around Grise Fjord until the Canadian government, in its infinite wisdom, decided to settle some Inuit people there, back, I think, in the 1930's.  Anyway, if you go to Wolves of the High Arctic, you can track their movements.  Someone asked exactly where the URL for Wolves of the High Arctic was, and I'm basically replying to that person.


An unusual thing about this particular wolf pack is, it's very large for a wolf pack.  The usual size of a pack is about 7-10 wolves.  This pack has some 20-odd.  How that happened, I wouldn't know.  Maybe a lot of the territory around them is essentially wolfless, or maybe there are just a lot of muskoxen to be had for their dinners.  Or maybe something else is going on.  In any case, the site itself is very impressive, I think, and is part of a study that includes David Mech, a famous wolf specialist.  So anybody interested in wolves, or maybe just looking at some pictures of them(in those regions, they tend to be white or nearly white), it's a wonderful site, and I highly recommend it.

Anne G

1 comment:

terryt said...

"Maybe a lot of the territory around them is essentially wolfless, or maybe there are just a lot of muskoxen to be had for their dinners".

Possibly both. Numbers help survival in the sense that prey is more easily brought down. But let's not assume the pack has always been that large. Nor is it likely to always remain that large. A few lean seasons and it may well be substantially reduced, and have to start all over again.