7th December 2019
Thankfully it was dry and mild when we arrived at the Trust.
We were a bit low on numbers due to sickness. We took the Beenhams out for a long walk first.
Nuka had a very interesting walk tracking the postman outside the hedge delivering to the village and following a man with a wheelbarrow walking off to the allotments.
He also spied a cat who ran off to the village and once out of sight, he lost interest! A hare ran out from the hedge in front of him but he was too interested in the postman and only gave it a cursory glance.
His sisters didn't show much interest in any of these activities.
Nuka was the only wolf to find not one but two very fresh piles of something extremely pungent and was in ecstasy rolling around in it and covering his lead and himself... We had to wash the chain after the walk!
We spent sometime waiting for Mai to stop chasing around with Motomo before coming out for a walk. She did a lot of rolling around where the tractor had been sitting, getting really engrossed. She was pulling up clumps of grass with her teeth trying to get to more diesel, making groans of joy!
She also found the now flattened smelly mound Nuka had enjoyed earlier and spent ages rolling around in that as well.
This was quite a long walk for Mai today and we all enjoyed watching her strut around with her very fluffy tail in the air. Once back in her enclosure she raced up and down showing off to the Arctics while Motomo tried rubbing himself all over her wonderful new aromas she'd come home with!
All the wolves not being walked were very vocal today while we were off site. It's fabulous to hear their songs across the fields.
We made a fuss of all the wolves and noted they all ate their food.
Our trip into the Beenhams' enclosure was amusing as Nuka went into his hilarious play mode, zooming around the enclosure. Even Tundra got a bit playful later on.
After we had another fuss with the Arctics through the fence. Massak also joined in with some bouncy playful behaviour which is great fun to watch, with his long front legs all splayed out as he play bows!
We all reluctantly left them to settle down for the night. Yet again, a great day with all the wolves.
Update by Eve, photos by Neil
1st December 2019
We all arrived and due to it only being 2 degrees, huddled in the Obs room to warm up and fill up with hot drinks before setting off to firstly take the Arctics, Massak, Pukak and Sikko out for their enrichment walk.
The Senior Handlers walked down first to put the Beenhams into their holding enclosure so they will be ready for us to take them out later.
Massak was asserting himself on the hard standing while the wolves were being collared up, due to the breeding season starting and hormone levels rising.
Their last walk will most probably be in 2 weeks' time to allow them to be left alone during the high hormonal season as we don't want their behaviour to escalate around us. We will do more enclosure enrichment with them while we are not walking them over the next couple of months.
Depending on how the Beenhams' behaviour changes over the next month or so, we may stop their walks during February, the height of the breeding season. Even though both packs are unable to breed, their hormones do still rise during these months!
Once out of their enclosure all 3 Arctics were calm, with Massak having the odd grumble at Pukak who didn't appear to be doing anything naughty. Sikko, for once, wisely decided to keep her distance! We had a nice calm walk with all 3 wolves following a lot of scents and trails along the way. There was some rolling around in smelly stuff and then we headed back. As the days are short and we have a lot to do, we didn't go into the back field today. All 3 wolves clearly wanted to and slowed down, stubbornly standing still. They gave up and trotted back with us and were quite happy once back in their enclosure.
With fingers now thawed out after a nice long walk, we headed back inside to get some drinks before taking the Beenhams out.
Nuka, Tundra and Tala came flying onto the hard standing and off we went at breakneck speed. This is great if you are on the front lead as you get some help from your wolf while walking uphill! We mixed the walk up a bit, doing it back to front and crossing across fields. They were keen to keep moving, in contrast to the Arctics who stop, sniff and scent mark everything. Tala decided to have a paddy going through the gate into the 'stump' field for a reason known only to herself. Patience is required and finally she came through. Tundra, who I was handling was keen to give her a telling off. Fortunately I was able to steer her off in the other direction therefore Tala avoided the wrath of her sister.
Nuka found something very smelly to roll in as usual and Craig was seen washing his collar after he'd taken it off Nuka once the wolves were safely back in their enclosure. We turned their waterfall on and watched as they nearly always go up there to get a drink from the free flowing water.
We then got the tortoises out for their walk briefly as it was still cold, cleaned their bedding and gave them fresh food. I noted one of them was straight onto the strawberries when we put them back inside.
We then had a quick break before the walk with Torak and Mosi. It is difficult to keep up with them and try to take photos! Mosi found a woodcock and I managed to snap her focussed on the rapidly departing flapping bird! It is great to see Mosi so full of life despite her poorly leg, which the medication is keeping in check for her.
Some handlers had stayed behind to prepare food for the wolves, so we started feeding them once the walk was over. They all ate well. Nuka was sucking his food down his throat and half way through his chomping emitted a loud burp!
After clearing everything away and taking out food for their next feed, we went into the Beenhams' enclosure. Tundra and Tala picked out some volunteers' heads and proceeded to rub themselves all over them. Nuka also had a rub on my head and appeared to enjoy depositing some of the smelly substance he'd delighted in on his walk all over my hair. Everyone found that most amusing.
It was all too much for Nuka who got a fit of the 'Zoomies' and raced off over the mound. He didn't reappear, maybe waiting for us or his sisters to chase him. They hung around with us for a little longer and then wandered off to see what Nuka was doing.
We left having had a cold but wonderful day with the wolves. I went home to wash my hair!
Update and photos by Eve