Our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project (CWMP) has four priority species that we do our best to document throughout Washington. One of those four species is wolverine (the other three are grizzly bear, gray wolf, and Canada lynx), and we've become fairly adept at setting up monitoring camera sites to find them.
This year in late July, a volunteer pulled a camera that had been running in the backcountry of the North Cascades west of Lake Chelan, since 2015.
Says CWMP Coordinator Laurel Baum, "This site sits at high elevation in sub-alpine habitat, and is a prime example of the rugged places that wolverines like to call home." The 2016 season had not allowed volunteers to access the camera, so the site had sat unattended for quite some time.
Upon retrieving the camera, the volunteer (and we!) were excited to discover that there were eight separate encounters with wolverines who visited the site over the course of the two seasons, a unique occurrence. Especially exciting - and rare - were the photos of two wolverines visiting the site at the same time! This pair was photographed just a day before the camera was retrieved by our volunteer.
"Photos of our target species are always exciting to receive from the field," said Baum. "At this specific site I think we have a high likelihood that wolverines will revisit the site again in the future, and our goal of gathering genetic hair samples, providing that data to state biologists, and enhancing our understanding of the population in Washington state is especially hopeful."
Enjoy these photos, and a big thank you from us to our volunteers who manage this remote and high-elevation site!