by Nolan Booth, Director of Lodge Operations, Churchill Wild
This one had the guests smiling, howling and making kissing noises at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge this afternoon. We spent close to an hour with part of a wolf pack that included a Mom, two feeding pups playing and being nosey, and an alpha male!
We had a Mom and cub and single male here yesterday but they decided they would rather swim in the bay than pose for close-ups with us. Today was a great day with the sun shining and the snow geese flying the coast along with huge flocks of sandhill cranes. The morning was fairly uneventful and the guests were in high spirits waiting for an up-close shot of our wandering polar bears.
In the afternoon I decided the Lodge staff needed a bit of a break from the compound, so my boys, Caden and Shelby, and Mike and Jeanne Reimer’s son Adam and I, joined the guides and a group of nine guests and off we went to the east. Of course you can imagine what happened with all our expert eyes peeled!
We spotted a wolf who turned out to be Mommy hiding in a small willow on the coastal flat grass. She eventually appeared with not one, but two beautiful pups, al legs and little bodies at about a foot tall. The pups stayed at a distance and played in the grass, fed and even howled now and again. We managed to watch the three of them from 50 metres for the entire time, but the coolest part of this ended up when we decided to leave the Rhinos and try an approach.
Guides Albert and Andy and I all made it clear to the guests that leaving the machines would likely chase the wolves off, but they were all fine with trying, so off we went, and about halfway there out comes the alpha male and then a dark black scout. The grey and white alpha stood guard and watched us the entire time, and then to our disbelief, the scout circled back and appeared back at the Rhinos looking at us and wandering all around.
The scout then decided the gooseberries and wild strawberries beside us were much more interesting and began feeding on them as he closed the gap and wandered by our entire group at approximately 30 metres. Now remember we have Mom her two pups at 50 metres to the east, an incredible alpha male not much farther away to the south and now this black beauty coming from the west just keeping an eye on us!
To sum things up, a normal wolf encounter is usually brief and limited to a run-by and maybe a little howling to keep the pack moving, but in this case the wolves seemed to want to fill in for the polar bears, who were off cooling themselves in Hudson Bay under the warm sun.
Thanks wolf pack! See you again soon!