There are quite a few noteworthy predators in North America but the Wolverine is near the top of the list. You also rarely find them in the wild. It seems as if that may be changing, as a CNN Travel report states that scientists spotted 3 wolverines in Mount Rainier National Park. This is the first time they were seen in the area in over a century.
Wolverines are part of the weasel family and were once hunted to near extinction for their fur during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Since that time, they have seen a slight rebound but there are still only between 300-1000 specimens in the lower 48 states. It isn’t only the fact that they have a small population, they tend to be elusive so they are difficult to study.
The Cascades Carnivore Project was working in conjunction with the National Park Service when the Mount Rainier wolverines were found. Scientists had installed remote cameras to detect the chest markings of wolverines in the park in 2018. A nursing mother Wolverine and her 2 kits were spotted this summer, which is the first to be seen in 100 years.
It is hoped that additional wolverines will be found in the park. They require an extensive hunting range and environmental changes affect them greatly. Since they have been found in Rainier National Park, it really shows you that the ecological health is at a high level.
The public has not been made aware of the location of the den to help protect the animals. Park officials do say that the public should watch for them. “Backcountry enthusiasts, skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers can help us monitor wolverines and contribute to studying their natural return to the Cascade ecosystem,” Dr. Tara Chestnut, a park ecologist, said in a press release.
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“Wolverines are solitary animals and despite their reputation for aggressiveness in popular media, they pose no risk to park visitors. If you are lucky enough to see one in the wild, it will likely flee as soon as it notices you,” the press release stated.
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