Wolverines! Not only one individual in Washington's southern Cascades anymore.

It has been a busy winter. Scott and Kayla, our main field crew, have done an incredible job getting out to the remotest parts of our southern Washington study area (Mt Adams to Mt Rainier) into the heart of wolverine habitat.
We have begun using runpole stations as our newest survey tool. These are wildlife monitoring stations designed specifically to photographically identify individual wolverines based on their unique chest blaze and determine their gender, and possibly reproductive status. They also collect hair samples for DNA analyses. They were designed by wolverine researcher, Dr. Audrey Magoun, who knows more about wolverines than almost anyone else and has creatively designed these stations. The stations are set 10+ feet up a tree so they stay above the snowpack as winter progresses. Additionally, we have added features to ensure the detect Cascade red foxes. They also work well for detecting other rare carnivores such as fishers and Pacific martens. These stations require a bit more up front effort, especially while we got the hang of things, but they have the potential to provide valuable information that would otherwise require live-trapping individuals. Our goal is to determine whether wolverines are reproducing south of Interstate Highway 90 (I90) in the Washington Cascade Range. 
 Scott setting up the hair snagging device on the runpole.

Wolverine country.

First wolverine detected at a runpole station by our study.

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