Monday, May 15, 2006

Yellowstone's Wolverines Being Followed


<--nps photo

-- During the cold winter months, when their large claws and furry feet allowed them to catch their prey, some of Yellowstone's wolverines were trapped and fitted with radio collars, and implanted with microchips. The research team now has it's work cut out for them; they must follow and observe this creature in it's wide ranging travels. This largest weasel can weigh 35 pounds, take down and elk, and defend it's kill from a grizzly bear. The cougar, grizzly bear and wolverine are the top predators in Yellowstone. The wolverines are rare and the most secretive of the three.
-- Now that the Yellowstone wolverines are wearing radio transmitters the real work begins. Both for the research team, and the male wolverine. As the kitts mature the mother turns over parenting chores to the father and hunting and scavenging skills are imparted to the young.

-- Because of their secretive nature and wide ranging travels very little is known about this creature. Most of our information comes from hunter's tales and folk lore. The reputation for fierceness is legend, and needs documentation, as does the population size. So little is known about this creature that, at present, it's hard to know if the population is nearly extinct or not.
-- This important study is underway now, and will continue for the next several years, (until 2009.) Results will be published here as they become available.

Read more.