I approach many things in life with a militant attitude – a ‘get up and go’, never quit way of life – so it was only fitting that a Chinook helicopter flew overhead this morning as I was observing the wolves. It reminded me to keep up the good fight, as it is a challenge getting facial expressions of wolves – mainly due to them moving very fast, and also because they are wolves and are therefore naturally quite illusive and wary of humans (especially of humans they do not know!) – so, I have to be both vigilant, ready to respond quickly to try and catch certain interactions between wolves, but, I also have to just sit and wait, poised like a sniper ready to take the shot of my target!
However, other challenges of my data collection include the inquisitive nature of wolves, as I found out when Mosi decided to jump up at me while I was trying to focus on her mate, Torak. Not that I’m complaining! I was face to face with a wolf after all, which is just incredible in my book!! One way to keep a wolf in one place (usually) is to temp it with something tasty – like a nice juicy wild rabbit for lunch! Tala dived into her rabbit like it was posh nosh! She was also quick to take advantage of the fact that her brother, Nuka, had left his rabbit unguarded – SHE who dares, wins! These wolves eat better than me I thought!! However, while tucking into her bounty of lagomorph she also remained vigilant, keeping a look out for anyone who may come and steal her food away – or if Nuka tried to claim his meal back. But, it is interesting and fascinating to see natural wolf ‘laws’ being upheld in captivity – Tala is a small submissive wolf, yet she is more than capable of chasing larger, more dominant wolves (such as Nuka) away from her food! Why? Because every wolf has the right to defend its own food!
A lovely side observation to the wolves was the sight of Red Kites (Milvus milvus) flying above, also waiting for Tala to finish with her rabbits so they could consume the leftovers (providing there would be any leftovers!) – it is picturesque watching the wolves and red kites – all that is missing is snow, my favourite weather – that would just make everything wondrous…….