Story of an #alpha male #wolf who lost his #mate to #trapping ...
Toklat began winter 2004-05 with the alpha male and female, their four pups of 2003 (17-month-olds), their six new #pups of 2004 (five-month-olds), and an unrelated young female of unknown origin who joined the group in July 2004, probably as a 14-month-old, in thin, undernourished condition. She was readily accepted by the alpha pair but endured a week of rough treatment from several of the young adults, particularly the #dominant #female. But within a couple of weeks she was fully accepted, had returned to good physical condition, and became the primary attendant of the six new pups.
Our first observation upon returning was of local trapper Coke Wallace and his partner removing the dead Toklat alpha female from a trap and a snare just outside the northeast park boundary. Wallace had just shot her. The alpha male was departing the trapping area with the nine others. He was about to begin two months of erratic behavior related to this loss.
First, he took the others 13 miles straight to the established natal den, arriving later that day. They cleaned out the den even though it was under two feet of snow. Dens are not normally prepared for use until sometime after the annual courtship and mating activities in March, and they are not occupied until just before the pups are born in May. The Toklat wolves most likely visited this den on February 11 because it was a place they closely associated with the dead female as mate and mother.
The next morning, the Toklat alpha male retraced the 13 miles straight back to the trapping area. This began a series of at least a half-dozen returns, during which it was obvious he was focused on finding his mate and little else. He no longer seemed concerned about the surviving #family members, who could barely keep up with his rapid, #determined pace and repeatedly lagged well behind...... more 👇 #loveone #newearth #savewolves #benice #wildlife #wolves #photography #guardians