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Dog Returned to Family after 240 Kilometer Trip over Sea Ice

In this photo provided by Mandy Iworrigan is Nanuq, in the middle with Brooklyn Faith, after the 1-year-old Australian shepherd was returned to Gambell, Alaska, on April 6, 2023. (Mandy Iworrigan via AP)
Dog Returned to Family after 240 Kilometer Trip over Sea Ice
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A dog is back with his Alaskan islander family after going missing for over one month. Nanuq was found over 200 kilometers away across sea ice.

Mandy Iwworigan lives on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Strait in the western part of Alaska. The Bering Strait is the icy waterway that separates the United States and Russia.

Nanuq disappeared in March when Iwworigan and her family went to visit friends on another part of St. Lawrence Island. She believes Nanuq and another dog ran out onto the ice looking for food. The other dog, Starlight, stayed away for a number of weeks but came home. Nanuq did not come back.

About one month later, Iwworigan said people in the town of Wales began posting photos of a dog they had found. Her father showed her the photos and said they looked like Nanuq.

Iworrigan looked at the photos and yelled: “That’s our dog, what is he doing in Wales?”

If you look at a map, you can see that the town of Wales and St. Lawrence Island are separated by a lot of water. But in the winter, most of it is frozen. This might have permitted Nanuq to cover 241 kilometers either floating or running on the ice.

The trip is being described as “epic.” But no one will ever know everything about Nanuq’s story or how he survived for so long.

“I have no idea how he ended up in Wales,” the owner said. “Maybe the ice shifted while he was hunting.” Iworrigan said the dog probably ate the remains of other animals such as a seal or caught and ate a seal. “He’s smart,” she said.

Nanuq came home to his family on an airplane last week and Iworrigan’s daughter, Brooklyn, yelled with happiness when she saw him.

The dog had been bitten by another animal but was otherwise in good shape after his long time away from home.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on a report by the Associated Press.


Words in This Story

epic –adj. something that is very long or difficult; something telling about a hero or a very exciting trip or adventure

shift –v. to change direction

yell –v. to shout; to make a loud noise with your voice


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