Year of the Wolf

VIDEO: Last days in childhood forests

Text and video record from trail camera: Marko Kübarsepp
Translation: Liis
In the wolf pack the last weeks of February are hurried, complicated and exciting at the same time. The reason is in the lead female of the pack who has started the mating rituals with her partner at about this time. We know February as the wolf month from the folk calendar.
The remaining pack members – those who are left after the winter – mostly roam around by themselves, sometimes together, sometimes separately, on the territory belonging to the adult animals, and are looking for something to eat somewhere. It is evident that the adults who otherwise care for the food of the whole pack don’t bother very much about it in this period of hurry. Hormones rage and evidently this brief period of two-three weeks must be used maximally. The mating wolf pair sometimes also have so-called "bridal escorts" from the family. The escort of the bridal pair is prevalently one of the not yet sexually mature cubs from last summer. It is not known whether the wanderer roaming with the older pair has a preferred position in some way, or if we have to do with an animal that is not willing  to be abandoned by the parents at any cost. The prevalent opinion is that in general these bridal escorts will become the aunts and uncles of the next litter to be born – these wolves are also called babysitters.
On the Kikepera wolf pack territory three wolves remained last spring. A young female wolf, evidently born in the spring of 2012, became babysitter to the four grey world citizens born last summer to the senior pair. She started to exhibit her first signs of sexual maturity this winter. Unfortunately however it is a fact that there is generally simply no room for other sexually mature individuals of the same sex on the pack’s territory.  Thus females having basically reached sexual maturity must leave the forests that until now have sheltered them and find new shelter (territory) for themselves. Male wolf ”babysitters” often remain with the pack for years.
In the brief video clip we see the almost two years old young female wolf-babysitter who has mostly been moving on her own for nearly a month. Within short she will apparently leave the territory of her present pack and start searching for a new area to live in. We can only wish her luck in her quest!