April.28.2010: The bears are out of hibernation!

Today Dean and I snowshoed to a couple of higher elevation stations on the north side of Mount Adams. At the first station, we encountered larger tracks covered in snow. After checking the second station and returning past the first station, we came across fresh black bear tracks on top of our own tracks. These are the photos from the camera at the first station.

New Wildy the Wolverine Detections

On Friday, I headed to Randle, Washington to take down the last survey stations in the Goat Rocks Wilderness for our winter field work. Much to my surprise, Wildy, our wide ranging wolverine visited two lower elevation stations both for the first time. I should probably not be surprised as these stations are 5 mi (8 km) and 10 mi (16 km) from the only other detection of this individual in Goat Rocks we've had in 2009.


The elusive genetic sample and a name for the wolverine

Well, the laboratory in Montana that generously analyzes all potential wolverine samples we collect during our field research returned their analysis of the scat I collected while following wolverine tracks on February.4. The identity of the tracks as being wolverine were confirmed by photographic detections at two nearby stations within a day of finding the tracks. Unfortunately the analysis shows the scat is from a coyote! Many carnivores, such as coyotes, are known to follow other carnivore's tracks marking their presence as they go. It looks like this is what happened along the wolverine tracks. Now we are really determined to collect a new genetic sample to understand the origin of the wolverine in the central Cascades!

Since we didn't get to discover the sex we are choosing to name the wolverine Wildy, a fitting name for this elusive, wide-ranging critter. Thanks very much to all who contributed donations and a name. We will be using the funds raised to purchase a new remote camera!


The Wolverine Blog

Rebecca Watters writes a perceptive blog, The Wolverine Blog on wolverine conservation in general and the Greater Yellowstone populations in particular based on insights gained from her role as project manager at the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, home of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wolverine Project. Be sure to have a look at the Dramatis Gulae to learn about the unique personalities of this wolverine study. In addition check out at her nod to my project as well as information on a super exciting evening on wolverines in Jackson, WY on her recent post.


Name the Wolverine competition..... extended

A DNA sample from our intrepid wolverine collected in February is being analyzed at the genetics laboratory and we will soon know its sex. So we are extending our Name the Wolverine competition until we find out whether its a male or female. We have had many generous donations and need only a few more to purchase a camera. Please donate!

Mar.22.2010: New red fox detection in the Goat Rocks study area

Looks like a fox?! Finally, the winter weather is abaiting, at least briefly and we can get into the wilderness to check stations.


Why no blog posts lately?

If you are wondering why I haven't posted photos recently, the reason lies in the massive amount of snow we have recently been blessed with in the Cascade Range. The usual snowy foothills, bare all winter this year, are blanketed once again. Huge, repeated snowfalls in the past two weeks have made access to high-elevation survey stations difficult in addition to pushing subalpine critters to lower elevations.