The Wolverine Foundation has proudly supported the Wolverine-Winter Recreation Project, which looked at the effects of motorized and non-motorized backcountry recreation on wolverines. We’re excited to share the final report with you, the people who helped make this work possible. You can read the report here.
This Friday, March 31st, TWF executive director Rebecca Watters be giving a talk for the Friends of the Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge in Colville, Washington. The talk will focus on wolverines and wolverine research in the US – it’s a talk for a scientifically-literate lay audience, complete with some hand-drawn illustrations, and photos and video from cameras in Montana..
The talk will be held at the Colville Community College theater, 986 S. Elm St. Doors open at 6:00 and admission is free. You’ll also have a chance to win wolverine-related door prizes, which is unique in my experience of giving talks. Details are here. If you happen to be in the area, we hope to see you there. Bring your sense of curiosity and some good questions.
In the high and remote world of the wolverine, winter is long and cold with an abundance of light, fluffy snow. Well-adapted for these harsh environments, with its large ‘snowshoe’ feet, thick fur, and endless endurance, this winter mountaineer is constantly moving, searching for food and patrolling its enormous home range. Historically, the wolverine was left to itself to winter in these extreme mountain habitats as most species moved to lower elevations to escape the severe season. This has changed, however, as the popularity of backcountry winter recreation has exploded, with both snowmobilers and skiers seeking remote, pristine slopes with powder snow. The previously quiet landscapes that wolverines prefer are now the play areas for many backcountry recreationists.
This winter the Wolverine-Winter Recreation Project completed 6 intensive years tracking wolverines and winter recreationists to understand how wolverines are responding to this relatively novel intrusion into their lonely regions. The research team has successfully collected impressive amounts of fine-scale movement and habitat use data on both wolverines and winter recreationists – simultaneously as both use such areas. With the field collections now complete, the team must turn its attention to the more arduous phase of data analyses to determine subtle but important responses of wolverines to the possible disturbances created by recreationists. The team now also faces another significant challenge: with the adventurous field work completed, the availability of funds needed to finish this very important work has largely dried up. This is a common dilemma faced by wildlife researchers: funding is available to collect data but not to do the critical analyses that actually transform field collected data sets into robust results to truly advance our understanding of the issues.
Please consider supporting the Wolverine-Winter Recreation Project with a donation to The Wolverine Foundation. All dollars received will go directly to supporting the necessary analyses and outreach required to ensure the results of this study are incorporated into decision-making affecting wolverines and wolverine habitats.
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The Wolverine Foundation, Inc.
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