20th September 2020
After arriving at the Trust, we all had a drink and planned the day ahead.
All of the wolves were taken out, with the Arctics first. Even by normal Arctic Amble speeds, this one was a dawdle. They spent a lot of time sniffing and rolling in all things smelly. Massak enjoyed the odd deep rumbling growl to Pukak, reminding him who’s the boss. Pukak, never a wolf to really back down, gave back some defiant growls of his own. Their grumbles are very deep sounding and incredible to be close to them in action. However, I do stress they were just niggling at each other and it is always over in a blink.
For the Beenhams' walk, Nuka was the star of the day, as the photos show. The trough (and the others along the way) in the top field is always a place for them to go to and sometimes check for water, or like last week, dead birds! Sarah scooped up some water while Nuka enjoyed rubbing himself all over the trough, almost turning himself upside down. He is incredibly entertaining to watch. His final pose was lapping some of the water out of Sarah’s cupped hands, apparently in ecstasy with his eyes closed.
His sisters, Tundra and Tala, being much more refined, turned their noses up at the somewhat murky water and on we went. Tundra enjoyed showing her Alpha status to Tala along the way. The photo shows her dominance and Tala's submissive body language.
Once back in their enclosure, Nuka had a good old splash around in his enclosure trough, still enjoying his day.
While Torak and Mai were taken for their walks, I helped prepare the food and we also let the tortoises roam in the clover, munching on it for a good hour! Craig and Neil carried out some tree maintenance in Torak’s enclosure while he was being walked.
Once Mai was out, after walking along beside her in their enclosure, Motomo jumped up on the platform and howled his displeasure! All the other wolves joined in and we were pleased to witness this close up while in the Trust, rather than just hear from a distance. One of the Arctic’s was howling while standing in a water trough (in the enclosure). A wonderful chorus and always in tune!
All the wolves ate well. I fed Torak today. He likes to take his time but he got through his bucketful in one go for a change.
After feeding the wolves and tortoises and putting them to bed for the day, we had a wonderful and quite lengthy time in with the Beenhams. The heat of the day did not fade, feeling more like July. Tundra was intent on giving Tala a hard time, but Nuka wouldn’t have any of it. He went after Tundra, grabbed her fur on her back and pulled her off. She squeaked her protest but he doesn’t take any nonsense and calm was restored. Tala skulked under the platform for a while, until Tundra got fed up with being a bit stroppy. We all had head rubs from them both. Nuka didn’t leave us and just wanted everyone to take at least 15 minutes tending to his wishes of tickles, rubs and massages. He fell asleep a few time as I could see him starting to dream, but just one rustle from a tree, had an eye opened and head raised, before flopping back into relax mode.
Reluctantly, we all left them and headed home having had a great day with all the wolves.
Update and photos by Eve
12th September 2020
The sun was shining as the volunteers arrived on Saturday. It was a perfect autumnal day and before long we were out and about with the wolves.
The Beenhams were first and, having heard some voices coming from the adjacent field we held Nuka back at the gate while one of the seniors checked to make sure the way was clear. Nuka was not impressed and made it clear he wanted to get going! After a short while we did and the walk took place at its usual quick pace. We went east from the log field, around Ridge's Belt and back into the top field, past some sheep (who seemed very interested in watching us all). Nuka went to the trough nearby and pawed at it, before ducking his head in and emerging with a dead blackbird in his jaws! He soon dropped it and we swiftly moved on, through the "bluebell woods" and down to the bottom field. We stopped momentarily at the bottom, by the Bourne, before heading back to the enclosure.
With the walk completed, we had our lunch, then set out with Mai. She went into the bottom field, sniffing out the Beenhams' trail, but soon decided she wanted to return to Motomo, whirled round and headed back.
Food was prepared for the wolves and the remaining bark chippings were laid behind the safety barrier by the Arctics. The idea is that it'll hopefully stop the walkways turning to a muddy quagmire in winter - we'll see how well it works soon enough! The wolves were fed (as keen as ever), then to finish the day we went in with the Beenhams.
While everyone else was escorted by Tala and Tundra, Nuka came bounding over to me, ebullient, clearly with play on his mind. I encouraged him to follow me (not hard at all, as he wanted to), then he leapt onto the platform, whirled around and dislodged his sisters in the process... all three ran off at a rate of knots to the southern side of their enclosure. We waited a minute or two, then the girls came back and enjoyed their usual fuss and attention (neck-rubbing for Tundra, with Tala taking what she can get while her sister is distracted). Nuka returned, play-bowing as he came, trying to get us to chase him - then eventually he settled down for a pleasant belly-rub.
We then decided to call it a day and said our goodbyes to the wolves (and to each other), setting off for home.
Photos and video by Eve.