It was a brisk frosty morning when leaving Durham, complete with a wee robin red breast perched by the side of the road seeing me off to the UK Wolf Conservation Trust (UKWCT)…..so, many miles and hours on the road watching the world pass by under an ominous mantle of snow clouds……but then a streak of sunlight! To which I saluted appropriately; rock on my sun!
The day after arriving, I exit the car at UKWCT, look to my left and I am instantly greeted by Torak, a tall wolf, he approached me warily and stared at me, before retreating to his mound where he let out a grand howl that echoed about the trees and my very soul……taken back I almost forgot why I was here! I’m here to collect data for my research! Camera in hand I went to work – moving about the grounds, peering through trees and sighting sun bathed wolves lying in a state of calm and serenity – beautiful. I proceeded to walk round by the Arctic wolves and initially I could not see them, I wondered where they were, and then suddenly from behind a hill appeared the glistening white sheen of a majestic Arctic wolf. I carried on walking, but the wolf stopped, stared at me and watched me move, calculating my next step, then started to follow me, eventually walking opposite me, then it vanished. Where did it go? I traversed a corner and was instantly confronted with the two Arctic wolves, their stunning golden eyes shining bright in the sun. Silent they stood I front of me, sniffing the air, then a ‘chuff’ came from the small female, Sikko, she was nervous, letting out a call to her pack of her insecurity. She retreated, but as I walked on, she followed, and when I stopped, she stopped, when I walked, she walked, she watched my every move, just as I was watching her every move – it was like a dance of our minds, both asking “why are you behaving like that?” As I turned to face her this time, she did not retreat, but approached me, cautious yet curious, she sniffed the air one more time before taking solace behind her brother Pukak.
Pukak, it has been a while since I last saw this lad – not the dominant wolf of his pack, but full of character with a big appetite – yep, this boy loves his food, and well after he kindly licked my hand like a drooling prince charming, feeding him was the least I could do to show my appreciation! So, I took some time out of formal video footage collection and grabbed his bucket of meat and offal and fed him by hand!! Don’t panic folks I checked the number of fingers on each of my hands before and after feeding him – all fingers still present!
Well, after a long day of frolicking with wolves, it’s back to home base to recharge batteries (and myself!), back-up videos and reflect on today’s observations whilst listening to some of my fave rock music……tomorrow more observations, more video footage and more love of wolves.
Keep calm and love wolves!!