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‘That is super cool!’: N.W.T. man can’t believe what he’s filming — a wolf pack in the wild

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Morgan Watsyk admits his eyesight is pretty bad, so at first he thought those dark forms on the road ahead were mountain goats.

“Because I’m getting closer to Wrigley [N.W.T], 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 zoomed in to get a better look. The video captures his surprise.

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“This a pack of wolves?” an incredulous Watsyk says in the 16-second video. “Holy shit! That’s a pack of wolves! Oh wow, that is super cool!”

It was indeed a pack of wolves. Eleven of them, it looks like, spread across the remote and snowy road. They soon seem to notice Watsyk’s vehicle and start running up the highway before the short video ends.

 

Wolf pack on N.W.T. road

 

Morgan Watsyk caught this wolf pack on the road to Wrigley, N.W.T., earlier this month.

“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 later.

The Fort Simpson, N.W.T., man has lived in the North for most of his life and he’s spotted plenty of cool animals — bears, foxes, coyotes. But he’d never seen a wolf in the wild, let alone a whole pack.

Watsyk said he kept his vehicle slowly moving toward them and got pretty close before they turned and vanished into the forest.

“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.

He later posted his video on Facebook and it soon had thousands of views.

Dean Cluff, a wildlife biologist with the N.W.T. government, saw the video and he shares Watsyk’s 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.”

‘It is an awesome sighting,’ said N.W.T. regional biologist Dean Cluff about Watsyk’s encounter. (Submitted by Dawn Curtis)

Even Cluff has only ever seen a pack of wolves from the air. On the ground, the elusive animals are more often spotted alone or in pairs, if at all.

Cluff says the size of the pack Watsyk saw would be fairly typical for wolves in that area. He says they’re likely “moose wolves,” named for their typical 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.

He says it’s “amazing” that wolf attacks on people aren’t more common. In fact, they’re very rare.

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.

A grey and white wolf is seen walking on a bare, snowy landscape.
People are more likely to spot wolves on their own in the wild in N.W.T., or in a pair, Cluff said, (Dean Cluff/GNWT-ENR)

Watsyk was in little danger though, even if he stepped out of the protective shell of his truck. Cluff says vehicles — including quads or snowmobiles, or even horses — are perceived differently by wolves than a person on foot.

“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.”

Watsyk admits he was a bit tempted to “hop out of the truck and give one a pet” but then thought better of it.

“I definitely still like to have my fingers by the end of the day,” he said.

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UPEI students offered $1,500 to leave residence during Canada Games – CBC.ca

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Some UPEI students are earning extra money during the mid-semester break this year, simply by packing up and leaving campus. 

The 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society offered $1,500 each to students living in Andrew Hall if they give up their residence rooms to make space for arriving athletes. 

The students have to leave a few days before the break starts, on Feb. 17, and can return March 7. They also had to give up their meal plan for the duration.

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Many athletes are staying at UPEI’s new 260-bed residence, built to meet accommodation requirements for the Games’ temporary athlete village.

But Wayne Carew, chair of the Games, said there are 120 more athletes coming than originally planned. 

A portrait of a man standing outside, wearing a jacket with the Canada Winter Games logo.
Organizers want the athletes all to stay on the UPEI campus so they can have ‘the experience of a lifetime,’ says Wayne Carew, chair of the 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society. (Tony Davis/CBC)

“We ended up getting 44 rooms [in Andrew Hall] and that’s great,” said Carew.

He said the athletes staying at UPEI “are going to have a wild experience on the campus of the beautiful University of Prince Edward Island.” 

Carew said the costs of doing this are a “lot cheaper” than arranging accommodations elsewhere. But he said the main reason is to provide all athletes the same, “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.

“Where they live, the food and the camaraderie and the experience of a lifetime: that’s what they’ll remember in 20 years’ time about P.E.I.,” he said.

‘Pretty good deal’

Some students were eager to take the organizers up on their offer.

“I’m going away to Florida during the two-week break anyways. So I was like, ‘May as well let them use my room then,'” said Hannah Somers. 

Portrait of a man in a toque and a grey sweater standing in front of a residence hall.
UPEI student Benji Dueck is moving in with a friend during the Canada Games so he can get the $1,500 offer. (Tony Davis/CBC)

“It’s $1,500. Pretty nice,” said Benji Dueck, who agreed to vacate the room with his roommate.  “We’re moving out, living with a friend in the city. So, sounds like a pretty good deal to me.”

As part of the agreement, the students had to clear out their rooms. Canada Games organizers made arrangements so students could store their belongings.

But not all students thought it was a good deal.

Portrait of a woman in a black down jacket standing in front of a residence hall.
UPEI student Maria de Torres won’t be leaving residence during the Canada Games. ‘It’s just too hard to pack up. It’s just too hectic,’ she says. (Tony Davis/CBC)

“I’m not giving up my spot in Andrew Hall for $1,500,” said Maria de Torres. “It’s just too hard to pack up. It’s just too hectic. And since I’m an international student, I got a lot [of things] right now.”

Shelby Dyment is also staying in Andrew Hall. Dyment said she and her roommate are working as residence life assistants during the mid-semester break and she’s also doing directed study, so she has to stay on campus.

“There’s a lot of people doing it. It’s just for our situation it just wasn’t working for what we were doing,” she said.

In a statement, UPEI said that enough students had accepted the offer to host all the athletes. 

It said the host society made all the arrangements with the students, including paying for their incentives and arranging for storage.

Organizers expect about 3,600 athletes, coaches and officials to participate in the Games. The event will run from Feb. 18 to March 5.

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Germany won't be a 'party to the war' amid tanks exports to Ukraine: Ambassador – CTV News

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The German ambassador to Canada says Germany will not become “a party to the conflict” in Ukraine, despite it and several other countries announcing they’ll answer President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s pleas for tanks, possibly increasing the risk of Russian escalation.

Sabine Sparwasser said it’s a “real priority” for Germany to support Ukraine, but that it’s important to be in “lockstep” coordination with other allied countries.

“There is a clear line for Germany,” she told CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos, in an interview airing Sunday. “We do want not want to be a party to the conflict.”

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“We want to support, we want to do everything we can, but we, and NATO, do not want to be a party to the war,” she also said. “That’s I think, the line we’re trying to follow.”

Defence Minister Anita Anand announced this week Canada will send four Leopard 2 battle tanks — with the possibility of more in the future — to Ukraine, along with Canadian Armed Forces members to train Ukrainian soldiers on how to use them.

Canada first needed permission from Berlin to re-export any of its 82 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. After a meeting of 50 defence leaders in Germany earlier this month, it was unclear whether Germany would give the green light.

But following what German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called “intensive consultations,” Germany announced on Jan. 25 it would send tanks to Ukraine, and the following day, Canada followed suit. It is now joining several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Poland, which are sending several dozen tanks to Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this week the tanks would allow Ukraine to “significantly strengthen their combat capabilities.”

“It demonstrates also the unit and the resolve of NATO allies in partners in providing support to Ukraine,” he said.

Meanwhile Sparwasser said Germany is “walking that fine line” of avoiding steps that could prompt escalation from Russia, while supporting Ukraine, and staying out of the war themselves.

“I think it’s very important to see that Germany is very determined and has a real priority in supporting Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and sovereignty,” Sparwasser said. “But we also put a high priority on going it together with our friends and allies.”

Sparwasser said despite warnings from Russia that sending tanks to Ukraine will cause an escalation, Germany is within international law — specifically Article 51 of the United Nations Charter — to provide support to Ukraine.

“Ukraine is under attack has the right to self defence, and other nations can come in and provide Ukraine with the means to defend itself,” Sparwasser said. “So in international law terms, this is a very clear cut case.”

She added that considering “Russia doesn’t respect international law,” it’s a more impactful deterrent to Russia, ahead of an expected spring offensive, to see several countries come together in support of Ukraine.

With files from the Associated Press

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COVID: Canada retaining Evusheld – CTV News

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While Health Canada says it is “aware” of the U.S. decision to withdraw the emergency use of Evusheld, a drug by AstraZeneca used to help prevent COVID-19 infection— the agency is maintaining its approval, citing the differences in variant circulation between Canada and the U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Jan. 26 that its emergency use authorization of the drug was pulled due to its inefficacy in treating “certain” COVID-19 variants.

The FDA stated in a release on its website that as the XBB.1.5. variant, nicknamed “Kraken”, is making up the majority of cases in the country, the use of Evusheld is “not expected to provide protection” and therefore not worth exposing the public to possible side effects of the drug, like allergic reactions.

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In an email to CTVNews.ca, Health Canada said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pulled the drug as the main variant of concern in the U.S. is XBB.1.5.

“Dominant variants in the [U.S.] may be different from those circulating in Canada,” the federal agency said in an email. “The most recent epidemiological data in Canada (as of January 1, 2023) indicate that BA.5 (Omicron) subvariants continue to account for more than 89 per cent of reported cases.”

On Jan. 6 the FDA said in press release that certain variants are not neutralized by Evusheld and cautioned people who are exposed to XBB.1.5. On Jan. 26, the FDA then updated its website by saying it would be limiting the use of Evusheld.

“Evusheld is not currently authorized for use in the U.S. until further notice by the Agency,” the FDA website states.

On Jan. 17, Health Canada issued a “risk communication” on Evusheld, explaining how it may not be effective against certain Omicron subvariants when used as a preventative measure or treatment for COVID-19.

“Decisions regarding the use of EVUSHELD should take into consideration what is known about the characteristics of the circulating COVID-19 variants, including geographical prevalence and individual exposure,” Health Canada said in an email.

Health Canada says Evusheld does neutralize against Omicron subvariant BA.2, which according to the agency, is the dominant variant in many communities in Canada.

The drug was introduced for prevention measures specifically for people who have weaker immune systems and are unlikely to be protected by a COVID-19 vaccine. It can only be given to people 12 years and older.

“EVUSHELD is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended,” the agency’s website reads.

Health Canada says no drug, including Evusheld, is a substitute for vaccination.

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