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Chasing Brutus, The North Pole Wolf


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Chasing Brutus, The North Pole Wolf
Author: Auntie P.
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Total Posts: 11361
Date Joined: 7/15/2006
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Posted:

"We first encountered 9-year-old Brutus back in 2003," said David Mech, a renowned U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) wolf researcher who has been studying the Ellesmere Island wolves for the last 24 years.

Brutus is an imposing 90-pound wolf, who sports a lionish ruff and that new satellite collar around his neck. Like all arctic wolves, Brutus is mostly white or light in color, and has long, coltish legs superbly suited for his long-distance jaunts and major hunting forays. And, says Mech, he’s not afraid to keep his pack of at least 12 adults and 6-12 pups in line.

Brutus’ collar collects and stores 2 locations per day, obtained via Global Positioning Satellites (GPS). Every 4 days the collar uploads the data to ARGOS satellites that email Brutus’ location at a particular time and date to the researchers’ computers. Unlike the VHF radio collar, which is still widely used to locate animals and birds, the GPS collar "listens" to the signal from a constellation of satellites and can calculate, by triangulating its own location, precisely where the animal is.

Since the researchers left Ellesmere, the wolf has "emailed" 145 locations to Mech and Cluff. So far, Brutus and his pack have covered an area of 740 square miles. And, said Mech, one day recently, Brutus traveled about 21 miles (straight-line distance) in no more than 12 hours. "He no doubt went around steep Blacktop Mountain, which would have required travel of much more than 21 miles, and all this in 12 hours max," explained Mech. "While not unheard of, this long travel is still impressive."

source      (a blog allows you to follow Brutus as he leads his pack thru the long arctic winter.)

Podcast:  details, download and photo of Brutus



 

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