Outdoors

First tracks, now photos confirm wolverines in Wallowas

One of two wolverines photographed by Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department researchers using a motion activated camera at a baited camera station on April 13, 2011 in the Wallowa Mountains. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)
One of two wolverines photographed by Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department researchers using a motion activated camera at a baited camera station on April 13, 2011 in the Wallowa Mountains. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

RARE SPECIES — Five days after discovering the first documented wolverine tracks in the Wallowa Mountains of Northeast Oregon, researcher Audrey Magoun has downloaded photos of two wolverines from a bait station camera.

“They are clearly photos of two different individuals,” Magoun said.

The photos were taken on April 2 and 13 at a bait station in the Eagle Cap Wilderness and downloaded on Friday.

The set of tracks discovered on April 17 was the first confirmation of a wolverine in Wallowa County.

Read on for more details.

After viewing the photos, Magoun and research assistant Pat Valkenburg redesigned the camera site so that when the wolverines return—and Magoun believes they will—they will be able to get photos of the wolverines’ abdomens which will help determine the sex of the animals.

Magoun and Valkenburg have been surveying for wolverine in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest within and adjacent to the Eagle Cap Wilderness since January of this year. Funding and logistical support for the wolverine survey comes from an Oregon Conservation Strategy Implementation Grant(federal State Wildlife Grant), The Wolverine Foundation, Inc., the Wildlife Conservation Society, The Seattle Foundation and private individuals including Magoun and Valkenburg, Alaska residents, who use their own plane for aerial surveys.

The wolverine was listed as threatened by the Oregon Game Commission in 1975, grandfathered as a state threatened species (May 1987) and reaffirmed by rule in 1989.

It became a federal candidate for threatened and endangered species status on Dec. 14.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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