2020 winter update from the Cascades Wolverine Project
Conservation Northwest / Mar 19, 2020 / North Cascades, Restoring Wildlife, Wildlife Monitoring, Wolverine
New detections and track observations are strong progress for wolverine research in the North Cascades.
PHOTOS AND TEXT BY DAVID MOSKOWITZ, CASCADES WOLVERINE PROJECT
*Editor’s Note: David is a longtime Conservation Northwest colleague and contractor, including advising our Community Wildlife Monitoring Project. Conservation Northwest is proud to be a partner and sponsor of the Cascades Wolverine Project, a grassroots effort to support wolverine research and recovery in Washington’s North Cascades through field science, visual storytelling, and building backcountry community science.
We are two-thirds of the way through our Cascades Wolverine Project winter field season, and it’s already full of exciting updates. We have our largest number of deployments out of any winter yet, and about 20 track observations submitted to us from backcountry skiers here in the Cascades.
We were also joined by Colin Arisman of Wild Confluence Media and Tyler Wilkinson-Ray of The Wilder Studio for a week of filming a story about wolverines in the North Cascades and our project. We’re looking forward to sharing this film with you—so stay tuned!
But most excitingly, we have had wolverine detections on one of our cameras close to Holden Village deep in the North Cascades. Based on images we got of the animal’s unique chest blaze, we believe the same animal visited the station in January and again in February.
In March, we collected a hair sample from the tree closest to the hanging bait set up at the station. The sample is off to the lab to determine if it is indeed from the wolverine, and if so, more information on its relationship to other wolverines whose genetics have been collected in the North Cascades.
As the season for spring skiing in the backcountry approaches, we are hoping to get more reports of potential wolverine tracks from around the Cascades. Contribute to our conservation effort and by learning how to identify wolverine tracks by sending us your observations!
In April, we will collect all of our winter camera traps and report on our results. And keep an eye out for new images of wolverines, other curious wildlife, and more from the field this winter, coming soon!