Scientists track arctic wolf pack leader

Dec. 1, 2009 at 3:35 PM
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RESTON, Va., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. and Canadian scientists say they have put a satellite collar on Brutus, a wolf pack leader, to follow him and his pack during the long arctic winter.

U.S. Geological Survey wolf researcher David Mech and Canadian biologist Dean Cluff put the satellite collar on Brutus in July on Ellesmere Island, which is located about 600 miles from the North Pole. The goal is to determine what the wolves do during winter in one of the harshest areas of the world.

"We first encountered 9-year-old Brutus back in 2003," said Mech, who has been studying the Ellesmere Island wolves for the past 24 years, following them during summer, which is mostly confined to the month of July. Snow begins falling in August making it nearly impossible for people to travel to the island or withstand the low temperatures any other time of the year.

This year, Mech said he and Cluff made a huge technological jump from notebook and pens to satellite collars because the scientists wanted to find out what Brutus and his pack of at least 12 adults and 6-12 pups do when it is dark 24 hours a day and temperatures can fall to minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Updates of the wolf's movement and other data from the satellite collar are available at

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