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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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Monday, December 30, 2013

With very little research on the habits of the Wolverine in Northern Alberta, Canada, the U. of Ablerta is currently undertaking a project to determine their population, distribution, favored habitat and how they are faring with oil and gas exploration projects.............Always rare and widely distributed, the researchers have already caught and tagged 5 of the creatures,,,,,,,,,,,,,,something that USA Wolverine scientists must be licking their chops about(only about 100 or so of the animals in the lower 48)................With the goal of tagging an unprecedented 13 Wolverines prior to this coming April, we will keep our eye on what these Canadian researchers discover over the months ahead

Researchers catch and collar elusive wolverines in northern Alberta

Researchers catch and collar elusive wolverines in northern Alberta

Matthew Scrafford, left, and Mike Jokinen are part of a team of researchers working in northern Alberta to catch wolverines and putting GPS collars on them in order to learn more about the “data deficient” animal.

EDMONTON - This winter, researchers in northern Alberta are getting closer than they’ve ever been to an elusive and notoriously ferocious animal.“It’s pretty surreal to be looking into the trap and have this creature inside that’s so reclusive,” said Matthew Scrafford, a University of Alberta PhD student.

Scrafford is heading an ambitious project that involves catching wolverines and fitting them with GPS tracking collars to learn more about wolverine distribution, habitat, behaviour, and the effects of the oil, gas and forestry industries on the animals.

“The northern boreal forest is supposed to be a stronghold for them, but because there is so little research, we don’t actually know,” Scrafford said.

Mike Jokinen, a biologist with the Alberta Conservation Association, is creating a series of short videos on the project. The association is helping fund the work through a $20,000 research grant and is fundraising for the collars, which cost $3,100 apiece.
“We know very little about wolverines in the province,” Jokinen said. “They’re considered data-deficient.”

Fourteen hand-built log traps were placed in the wilderness west of High Level in late November. Scrafford and his team caught and collared five wolverines — two male and three female — in the first 12 days, an impressive feat for an animal rarely seen.The goal is to collar 13 wolverines before next April, a time frame concurrent with when bears in the area hibernate.“Getting 13 collars on would be amazing, it would be unprecedented for wolverine studies,” Scrafford said.

Jokinen has been involved with the wolverine project since it began about two years ago, when the Alberta Trappers’ Association approached the conservation association about studying wolverines.
“We wanted it to be trapper-based, to use our bush skills, our wildlife knowledge, and our ability to get into remote areas, good wolverine habitat,” said Bill Abercrombie, a board member with the Alberta Trappers’ Association.

The organizations developed a project that saw wolverines lured to platforms where remote trail cameras were set up, along with clips that could collect hair samples for DNA analysis.“The knowledge the trappers have is incredible,” Jokinen said. Last winter, about 25 trappers participated in the project.

Advancements in technology, including GPS tracking collars and trail cameras, have helped researchers in other parts of the world learn more about wolverines, and now it’s Alberta’s turn.

This year’s live trapping project with the University of Alberta builds on the earlier work, and continues the goal of collecting data that will inform how Alberta’s wolverine population is managed.Scrafford said trapping wolverines, sedating them and fitting them with collars requires “a really good routine.”“The capture goes so quickly because everyone is so focused on their jobs,” Scrafford said. “When we put the animal back into the trap and step back, that’s when I start thinking about it. To have this wild animal, a wolverine, right there, it’s been a pretty amazing experience.”

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