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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, February 22, 2016

Some great Wolverine video footage from Canadian filmmaker Andrew Manske who spent 5 years alongside trappers and U. of Alberta researchers, Mark Boyce and Matt Stafford revealing that the thought to be solitary wolverines do in fact "scavenge in family caravans"..............His "WOLVERINE: GHOST OF THE NORTHER FOREST is airing this Wednesday, 2/24 on the Canadian Broadcasting Channel(CBC-channel 4)...............If you have access to CBC, some outstanding television in store for you coming from northern Alberta, Canada(click on link below to see a preview of the full show).

Alberta filmmaker advances understanding of wolverines

Andrew Manske has the quickly deployed smile of a man at his best outdoors, and shows well-earned weathering around his twinkling blue eyes as he recounts how he spent the last five years, quietly hunting.
Pushing his will, body and equipment through oceans of deep snow, setting camera traps to pinpoint his fierce yet skittish prey, and living solitary — from humans, anyway — in small blinds for weeks straight in northwest Alberta, Manske’s quest was simple enough: film the first and best high-definition footage of wild wolverines. And boy, did he.

“It was like Christmas morning,” he says of seeing his first motion-captured footage of the fuzzy moving appetites, early in his journey.
Footage of his first wolverine sighting from the blind, with a proper HD camera after weeks in wait, shakes thanks to his nervous hands.
With the help of his trapper partner Brian Bildson at Compass Media, a tasty-to-scavengers drowned deer and wolf-shredded moose, the Alberta Trappers Association, numerous scientists, some luck, and an obsessive patience, the 43-year-old Manske captured the unprecedented images. The videography isn’t just beautiful; it also challenges some of our presumptions about the social behaviour of these thick-coated, rather self-protective carnivores named in Latin after gluttony.
Andrew Manske's groundbreaking footage of wolverines will be on an upcoming Nature of Things special.
Andrew Manske’s groundbreaking footage of wolverines will be on an upcoming Nature of Things special. ED KAISER
Manske’s images, along with simultaneous studies by a team led by the University of Alberta’s Mark Boyce and Matt Stafford, show the presumed-solitary wolverines scavenging in family caravans. Elsewhere, a male wolverine claws at then goes to sleep beside a scientific trap containing his annoyed father. Though a single wolverine can scare off a bear, Manske and the scientists come across one gutted by wolves, its fanged mouth packed with snow during the fatal struggle. And, with remote cameras, the natural historians capture never-before-seen footage of a mother wolverine, spooked by animal activity, moving  kits by the mouthful from an invaded beaver lodge.
All this makes Wolverine: Ghost of the Northern Forest fully captivating. The Nature of Things special premières at 8 p.m. Thursday on CBC (Channel 4). Edmontonians can catch a sneak preview at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday at Metro Cinema.
Emmy-winning filmmaker Manske has many stories to tell, some of them printable.
Q: Why wolverines?
A: There’s very little been done on them. They’re probably the most elusive predator in North America. I’d spent 20 years out there filming polar bears, grizzly bears, but had never seen a wolverine in the wild. It took getting to know some trappers. Wolverines are really good at smashing traps and getting the bait without getting caught. The trappers started putting out consumer-grade cameras to see what was stealing their food. I got word of this. I went out and put out video-trail cameras and started seeing wolverines, every night, and eventually during the day. Starting to recognize certain individuals, that’s what got me obsessed.
Q: Who’s your favourite?
A: Brutus was the first one we got footage of. He was this big, fat male. We caught him digging into a beaver lodge. Matt Stafford called me up and said, “Guess who we caught?” He was missing half his head — his scalp was missing. We think he got beaten off his area. He kept getting the free beaver meat from the traps. He knew he would get caught, but also released every day.

Q: How does it feel to be part of the front line of scientific discovery making art?
A: It’s so amazing to be up close and personal with wolverines. Like, 20 centimetres away there’d be a wolverine lunging at me, and you can smell their breath — which smells like rotting beaver from the trap. My skills helped discover some families. We caught one called the White Buffalo and my trail cameras caught another one hanging around. He was just following his dad around. We didn’t know they were that social, a mother and her two offspring following her. The trail cameras were the secret to finding them, knowing where to be at the right place and time.
Q: You’ve finished a five-year journey. Is it over?
A: Because I’m getting the footage, other clients are popping up. BBC is coming out with a “great mountain” series, and they want wolverines for the Rockies. I’m leaving March 1 to go sit in my blind for a month. As soon as you get footage, you find out how to do it even better. I’m insatiable. (He laughs.) The blind has been there for a while and the wolverines are getting familiar with us.
Q :In Susan Sontag’s book On Photography she talks about how photography preserves and yet destroys as images lure people into uncharted places. Are you concerned about your impact? You peed in jars.

A: When I’m out filming wolves and wolverines, they’re definitely impacted by my presence. Their behaviour changes. I was filming wolves off the coast of B.C., and they were smelling the places I’d been, even just walking. All of a sudden tails tucked beneath them. They’d look scared and leave. I’ve had so many wolves roll around in my poo spot. They know I’m there and I’m not acting naturally. I started containing everything, ate very little, stay in the blind for 72 hours. My producers were asking for video of me talking in the blind, and it’s the last thing you want to do.
I decided to keep my urine in bottles, but the unfortunate thing about that is it’s also -25C. Every three days back at camp I’d have to thaw out these bottles just to dump them. When I met David Suzuki during the narration read he said, “Great film. But what were you doing, shitting in a bag?”

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