Arguably no unit in the animal kingdom is more impressive than the wolf pack. One of the best quotes about wolves is from Rudyard Kipling. He wrote the original Jungle Book in 1894. Text from one of the stories reads “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” The remarkable video was filmed by Morgan Watsyk in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The footage shows what looks to be about a dozen wolves spread out and standing their ground on a blizzard-covered highway.
Watsyk said he initially thought the animals he could see up ahead were mountain goats. Between his bad eyesight and the dark conditions, he couldn’t tell they were wolves at first. “Because I’m getting closer to Wrigley North West Territories right? You’re getting closer to the mountains and whatnot,” he recalled.”But I was thinking there shouldn’t be no herd of mountain goats in this area.”
He quickly whipped out his phone and got the camera rolling. The video and story were shared by CBC News. His surprise can be heard in the video’s audio. “This is a pack of wolves?!? Holy sh*t! That’s a pack of wolves! Oh wow, this is super cool!”
A closer look at the video shows 11 wolves. The pack then appears to take off running up the road as the vehicle approaches.
Seeing A Wild Wolf Pack Up Close Is A Rare Opportunity
“I was really definitely quite amazed to see 11 wolves at once. So yeah, somebody was definitely looking after me there that day!” Watsyk said. “I just hope somebody doesn’t come up and decide to poacher these poor animals because yeah, they are gorgeous. They are gorgeous beasts,” he said.
Watsyk has lived in the rugged and wild Northwest Territories his entire life. He’s seen plenty of cool animals, including bears, foxes, and coyotes. He’s never seen a wild wolf though, let alone a whole pack. He said it was one of the coolest things he’s ever seen.
Dean Cluff, a wildlife biologist with the Northwest Territories provincial government shares his enthusiasm. “He said it was super cool — and I think it is,” Cluff said. “It is an awesome sighting … unless you’re flying and seeing it from the air, you know, you often don’t see a whole pack.”
Despite a career that includes monitoring wolves, Cluff said that even he has only seen a wolf pack in action from the air and at a distance. On the ground, wolves are typically only observable alone or in pairs. Packs tend to scatter in the presence of human activity. He said a pack of that size in an area that rugged and remote makes sense though.
He says they’re likely “moose wolves,” named for their preferred prey, and this time of year are most likely wandering around on the prowl. As winter continues, some animals will begin to pair off before the breeding season in March.
What To Do If You See A Wolf
The biologist also says he’s amazed at how extremely rare wolf attacks on people are. Still, he acknowledges that “it’s just a little riskier” when there’s a pack mentality at work. The last thing one should do if they encounter a pack is to turn and run, Cluff said, because then they look like prey. “That might elicit the predator response,” he said
He said Watsyk was never in any danger in the video though. Wolves are typically quite wary of vehicles. That includes quads, snowmobiles, and horses too. “Odds are that if a person got out of the vehicle, you know, that pack would take off. So it’s not too much of a concern.”