22nd December 2019
Sunday was, by and large, a dry and mild day - ideal weather for being out with the wolves.
After arriving, we shared a few festive treats and then set out with the Beenhams. The day may have been dry, but the muddy ground told the tale of copious rainfall over the preceeding weeks. The wolves, already a bit muddy, became even moreso as the walk progressed. There were times when even the wolves made squelching noises on the saturated grass, something which is most unusual as the wolves are usually pretty silent!
The rainfall had filled the pond that one of our volunteers (Matt) dug out a few years ago. The wolves were of course quite interested in this, albeit they didn't fancy going in the deep part. Just as well, as the handlers would have had to follow! As usual there were some smelly things for the wolves to roll in, although all that moisture took the edge off the pong. The stream at the bottom of the field by the enclosures was as high as I've ever seen it and the wolves were quite careful as they paddled at the edge. Tala, for whatever reason, decided that the water in the pond was better than that of the stream; she must have been thirsty as she took a good long drink.
After popping the wolves back in their enclosure, we had a short break for lunch. It was then Mai's time to come out and she strode out powerfully around the back field. We didn't get down to the stream, though, as a veil of drizzle started to fall. That was her cue to turn tail and head back up the hill... it was a good workout keeping up with her and a reminder that despite her advanced years, she's still a powerful animal. The drizzle stopped, we put Mai back, then it was time for some fun.
In the old days, we used to run "Christmas Cracker" events, whereby meaty treats were packaged inside a "cracker" - usually made from old kitchen roll tubes. We no longer run these events, but we decided to give the wolves some "crackers" anyway. These took the form of some hotdog sausages poked through holes in the cardboard tubes, with an egg in the middle held in place by the sausages. The puzzle for the wolves would be how to get the egg out.
As it turns out, it wasn't much of a puzzle for them. While the Arctics carefully deconstructed the treats, the Beenhams just attacked the tubes with gusto, shredding them and gobbling up the goodies within. Mai was uncertain about the whole thing to start with, but ended up scoffing the hotdogs from both hers and Motomo's. None of this took very long and it proved that although the wolves like eggs, they like hotdogs more!
The regular feeding took place afterwards and this time there were no kites to steal Motomo's food.
To wrap up our time with the wolves, we went in with the Beenhams. They were all keen to say "hello" and we spent quite a while making a fuss of them. Nuka waded into the pond and it turns out the reeds are very good at hiding a wolf: you wouldn't have known he was there, until a head appeared followed by the rest of him. As is often the case he came over to me and wanted a belly rub. Not to be outdone, Tundra than came trotting over, also wanting a fuss. Stroking two wolves at once is a bit difficult, but luckily there was help at hand from the other handlers!
We then said our goodbyes to the wolves and headed back to the education room, where Tsa (the owner of the Trust) had thoughtfully left some of her mulled wine for us to take away. It's potent stuff and the gesture was much appreciated by us all. We wished each other a Merry Christmas and headed our separate ways, having enjoyed another great day at the Trust.
Thank you for your continued support of the Trust; we look forward to bringing you further updates in the new year. In the meantime, on behalf of the wolves and everyone at the Trust, Merry Christmas!
Motomo, Torak and Mosi, Mai