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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Thought to have been extirpated from Oregon by 1936, Wolverines might be beginning to recolonize parts of the State......The Wolverine in the picture below was inadvertantly caught(unharmed) in a bobcat trap this past Christmas...........It is possible that it is one of the three Wolverines that were "camera-sighted" last year by researcher Audrey Magoun..........Protected by Oregon law, Wolverines are perhaps our most "man-sensitive" carnivore, easily disturbed by our presence in their habitat........Biologists are speculating that there might be permanent Wolverine residents in the state and perhaps the beginning of a sustaining population

Trap meant for bobcat catches wolverine

Written by Observer staff reports;

Last winter wolverine researcher Audrey Magoun released photos, including this image, of three wolverines captured on game cameras located in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. According to Vic Coggins, ODFW Enterprise district manager, the significance of finding the wolverine in a trap is that it is one of the same wolverines seen in Magoun’s 2011 photos. AUDREY MAGOUN photo

The presence of wolverines in Wallowa County has put a whole new spin on winter trapping for area
trappers. A wolverine who stumbled into a bobcat trap Dec. 23 was successfully released by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists and wolverine experts Audrey Magoun and Pat Valkenburg.

Last winter, Magoun released photos captured on game cameras located in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of three different wolverines. According to Vic Coggins, Enterprise district manager, the significance of the finding the wolverine in a trap is that it is one of the same wolverines seen in Magoun’s 2011 photos. This may indicate that these wolverines are resident to the area and not just passing through.

To capture images of wolverines Magoun set up game cameras on trees across from trees with road kill deer attached as bait to attract the animals.

Wolverines have white markings on their chests and toes, and like snowflakes, no two are the same. These markings easily identify the difference between animals. Magoun also sets up bristly wire near the bait in order to capture hair for DNA testing. Both the photo and the DNA analysis proved that the animal caught in the trap was one of the same ones seen on video recordings last year.

Magoun and Valkenburg identified 30 sites for cameras, but only 16 were put up due to heavy snow. They were erected between 4,600 feet elevation and 6,300 in open meadow near avalanche chutes and in areas of large herbivore habitat such as elk and mountain goats.

Wolverines were detected at seven of the 16 sites. A report concluded last spring said that the DNA revealed the wolverines most likely dispersed from Idaho. Several sets of tracks were also seen from aerial surveys. The evidence of two sub-adult males suggest there could be a breeding pair in the Wallowas, though no females have been detected.

Wolverines are threatened under the Oregon Endangered Species Act and the agency applauded the trapper for contacting them immediately.  “This trapper did exactly what he was supposed to do following the capture of the wolverine,” said Tim Hiller, ODFW furbearer coordinator. “We appreciate that the trapper also voluntarily pulled all of his traps from the area afterwards.”

A letter to trappers dated Jan. 27, Fish and Wildlife reminded trappers to immediately contact the agency should they trap a wolverine and asked trappers to take special precautions when trapping in areas of known wolverine activity, encouraging them to avoid the use of lethal traps such as medium or large body-gripping traps. ODFW also recommended that trappers familiarize themselves with wolverine sign, especially tracks.
Bobcats and wolverines can sometimes be found in the same areas. However, deep snow usually forces most bobcats out of wolverine habitat and greatly decreases access to that habitat for trappers.
Most bobcat trappers have since voluntarily removed all of their traps from the area where the wolverine was trapped, according to Jim Soares, secretary/treasurer of the Northeast Oregon Trappers Association and member of the Oregon Trappers Association.

“Oregon trappers don’t want to capture wolverines or any non-target species,” said Soares. “The trappers I know are very aware of the diversity of wildlife in the area and take precautions to only trap animals they intend to trap.” In addition to talking with Northeast Oregon trappers, the state has also responded to Oregon Wild and TrapFree Oregon, organizations that expressed concerns about wolverines and trapping after hearing about the capture.

Fish and Wildlife informed these organizations of its communication with Northeast Oregon trappers and that the risk to wolverines from trapping activities in the area is low.  Trapping is a regulated activity in Oregon with special rules based on species, bag limit, season and species status. Since 1985, all first-time trappers and those born after June 30, 1968, have been required to pass an education course before they can obtain a trapping license. The course deals with topics like wildlife identification, trapping ethics, animal welfare, and setting traps so they catch target animals. Oregon currently has about 1,100 licensed trappers.

Bobcat season runs through Feb. 29 in Oregon. Many other seasons wrap up by that date as well.

Wolverines have been found in Oregon several times since 1936, when they had been thought to be extirpated from the state, in Linn Harney, Wheeler, Hood River and Grant counties

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