Outdoors

Vote online to boost North Idaho wolverine study

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)

WILDLIFE RESEARCH — The Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness once again is asking people to vote online before Sunday (Oct. 28) to help the group garner $27,600 in requested grants from Zoo Boise that would be applied to wolverine research in the Idaho Panhandle.

Visit the Zoo Boise projects website for details and to vote.

Review the the wolverine proposal and the other finalists and then vote for your two favorites in each category. The four projects with the most votes will each receive a grant from the total of $110,000 the zoo is awarding in 2012. One vote session per person is allowed.

The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness has partnered with Idaho Fish and Game and the Idaho Conservation League on a proposal for an Idaho Panhandle Wolverine Study.

Wolverines (Gulo gulo) have been classified as ‘warranted but precluded’ for listing as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Only about 35 breeding wolverine females were known to be roaming the lower 48 states two years ago.

Read on for more details about the North Idaho project.

The study began modestly in 2010-11, involving a few camera stations that caught an amazing variety of critters, but particularly rare forest carnivores; martins, fishers, ermine, bobcats, and even a wolverine and a lynx.

“We started small,” says Sandy Compton, FSPW program coordinator, “but the volunteer response was amazing. Lots of people were interested in getting involved with setting up and monitoring the camera stations.”

Citing such great initial results, FSPW wrote a grant for nearlhy $30,000 for the 2011-12 season, and it was the top vote getter of the 9 finalists. With the grant in hand, FSPW bought two dozen-plus top-grade Reconix cameras and all the other accoutrements to set up monitoring stations, and hired biologist Kelsey Brasseur for 30 hours a week to be project coordinator.

A stable of volunteers were trained to put out bait stations in late fall and monitor them by snowshoeing or skiing during winter to find out where wolverines ‘hang out’ by captureing photos of them.

Data collected will inform Forest Service policy decisions which influence wolverine survival.

For more information about the organization of the FSPW project, click here.




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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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