VIDEO: Rare Footage of Wolverine Captured in Yellowstone
On Wednesday, Yellowstone National Park shared rare trail camera footage of a wolverine that was captured by park biologists last month.
Seeing a wolverine in YNP is extremely rare, as only seven are known to live in the park. The wolverine triggered a remote trail camera outside the Mammoth Hot Springs area in December.
According to YNP, Wolverines (Gulo gulo) aremid-sized carnivores in the weasel family that typically occupy high-elevation alpine and forest habitats. There is a very small population of wolverines in the park and the animals are rarely detected or caught on camera.
Watch trail camera footage of a wolverine running through a snow-blanketed, forested area in Yellowstone National Park.
Park biologists have used remote cameras to monitor the cougar population since 2014, but this technology has since become increasingly valuable for detecting and monitoring a variety of species and aspects of Yellowstone's ecology. Since the remote cameras were installed in the park, this is the first time footage of a wolverine has been captured.
The National Park Service, the US Forest Service, and the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative surveyed the eastern part of the park and adjoining national forest from 2006 to 2009, and documented seven wolverines at that time, consisting of two females, and five males.
Commercial trapping and predator control efforts substantially reduced wolverine distribution in the lower 48 states by the 1930s. Some population recovery has occurred, but the species has not been documented recently in major portions of its historic range. In the Greater Yellowstone Area, wolverines have been studied using live traps, telemetry, and aerial surveys.
In Montana, which has the largest wolverine population of the lower 48 states, an annual quota of 5 wolverines were available for harvest by licensed trappers in recent years.