Wolverine in the Skagit!
Exciting news from our friends at North Cascades National Park:
Look at the paws on this guy! Last summer, a visitor reported … that they had seen a wolverine chasing a marmot while hiking just to the west of the Park boundary in the Skagit watershed. North Cascades National Park biologist Roger Christophersen set up a scent lure to attempt to attract the wolverine to a hair snare and motion camera. The remote camera captured these photos of a male wolverine and the snare caught a useful hair sample.
Keith Aubry, Wildlife Biologist with the US Forest Service had the hair sample analyzed and recently reported that the DNA analysis confirmed this report as the westernmost verifiable record of a wolverine in the last 15 years! In addition, the hair sample identified this wolverine as “Special K”, a previously captured wild study animal. Special K was caught in a trap near Bridge Creek back in February of 2012, but would not go down during immobilization and had to be released without a radio-collar intended to track movements across its home range. Luckily, biologists had taken a hair sample that allowed this identification that gives researchers another example of how wide-ranging these animals are – the two sites are separated by more than 45 miles and a mountain range!
You can learn more about wolverines July 26-28 at the Environmental Learning Center in our “Carnivores of the North Cascades” class; details at http://ncascades.org/signup/programs/carnivores-of-the-north-cascades. Christophersen will teach about pikas and marmots August 23-25 in the North Cascadian high country; details at http://ncascades.org/signup/programs/pikas-marmots-alpine-exploration.
Read more about North Cascadian wolverine research at http://wolverinefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/NCWSUpdate_10April2013.pdf.
Conservation Northwest has information about wolverine conservation and current issues at http://www.conservationnw.org/news/scat/step-up-wolverine-protections.
Here’s a video featuring Christophersen baiting a wolverine trap:
[vimeo 18710531 w=500 h=281]
Connecting with Carnivores from NCCN Science Learning Network on Vimeo.