2nd wolverine detected is southern Washington

Following up on some great detections of Cascade red foxes east of Mt Rainier from our collaboration the USFS Naches Ranger District, we were thrilled to also detect a wolverine. First on May 16, then again on May 24 and 28, a single individual visited two of our camera stations.
This is only our second wolverine in the eight years since the project's inception. There was a wolverine roaming an area comprising Mt Adams and the Goat Rocks Wilderness, which we detected on 12 occasions between 2009 and 2012. This wolverine was first detected on the east side of Mt Adams in 2006 when it was photographed by a remote camera of the Yakama Nation. We presume it was a lone, dispersing male, and that it may have died now, or perhaps moved on, which is less likely as it stuck around the study area for several years. There was a compelling anecdote that it had found a mate but no concrete evidence was collected.

In the contiguous United States, the wolverine roams the high mountains of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho; and west into Washington's North Cascades. Their status in southern Washington is somewhat murky. The population in the North Cascades has been moving southward, expanding geographically though probably not in abundance. But despite this expansion, they are very rarely detected south of Interstate 90. A wolverine photographed south of I90 near Manastash Ridge by a citizen's remote camera may be the same wolverine as the one we just detected east of Mt Rainier. The Manastash photograph does not show the unique markings of a wolverine, which are along the chest and under the chin, and neither do our photos provide great detail. We will continue monitoring for wolverines this coming winter and hope to shed more light on their presence and genetic origins in southern Washington.