Wolverines have returned to Mount Rainer National Park for the first time in over 100 years. Cameras within the park recently caught a mother and two nursing offspring.
Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins said, “It tells us something about the condition of the park—that when we have such large-ranging carnivores present on the landscape that we’re doing a good job of managing our wilderness.”
The mother, named Joni, and her kits were discovered by a team of researchers from the Cascades Carnivore Project, (CCP) a research institute that seeks to raise awareness about some of the lesser known North American carnivores such as the fisher, lynx, and wolverine. They set up the camera station at Mount Rainer 2018.
Having confirmed the sighting in surrounding areas of the park with similar habitats both the National Park and the CCP believes wolverines may start returning to the Washington State based park.
(The CCP works to raise awareness about less understood carnivores of North America’s forests, such as fishers, lynx, and wolverines.)
Dr. Jocelyn Akins of the CCP said, “Many species that live at high elevation in the Pacific Northwest, such as the wolverine, are of particular conservation concern due to their unique evolutionary histories and their sensitivity to climate change.
“They serve as indicators of future changes that will eventually affect more tolerant species and, as such, make good models for conservation in a changing world.”
As the largest member of the mustelidae, or weasel family, wolverines possess a short snout, small ears, and large paws that allow them to traverse the snow without sinking down into the drifts. They are scavengers who also actively hunt large prey like deer. Occasionally, they are known to even hunt predators such as lynx.
Despite the certain regions of the United States being prime wolverine habitats, the animals are extremely rare in the United States. The National Park Service estimates their population to be roughly between 300 to 1000.
The National Park Service has not released the locations of the Mount Rainier wolverine den and camera stations in an effort to help protect the predators from potential harm and accidental disturbances to their habitat.
Source: Good News Network