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Wolverines and more: 2012 remote camera report

Feb 01, 2013

A new report released today features remote camera findings from Conservation Northwest's volunteer Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project. From wolverines to wildlife bridges, the report is a a testament to the richness, diversity, and wildness of Washington.

Wolverines and more: 2012 remote camera report

Highlight of the 2012 Spring-Fall Citizen Wildlife Monitoring report: Wolverine captured in the Upper Icicle Valley by remote camera. Photo: CCWMP

From April through November last year, more than 100 volunteers with Conservation Northwest's Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project trekked into wild places to deploy cameras at two dozen sites in Washington. A report released today highlights the season's most exciting finds - from wolverines to wildlife crossings - and details the full results.

“Our Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project continues to prove that citizen science can provide a substantial benefit to ongoing professional wildlife research in Washington state," said volunteer coordinator Kit McGurn.

"Each year our volunteers are documenting presence of species such as wolves and wolverine in areas of the state that were previously unknown to researchers and agency managers. On top of that, during each monitoring season our volunteers gain a more intimate understanding of the insanely beautiful and increasingly wild landscape we Northwesterners are fortunate to call home.”

Seattle Times story: Join staff member Jen Watkins, volunteers, and reporter Lynda Mapes in the field as they monitor wolverines.

In the Cascades, the highlight of the season occurred just south of Highway 2 west of the city of Leavenworth, WA. Three individual wolverines previously undocumented by researchers were captured on camera. One of the detections was the return of a female wolverine, dubbed “Peg,” first recorded by our cameras on April 1, 2012. Two other wolverines in addition to Peg were recorded this season and identified by their unique chest blazes (PDF).

"Drew and I had been thinking about an Icicle canyon site since hearing about wolverine cameras being put up in the North Cascades," said wolverine monitoring team lead Cathy Gaylord. "We really hope to find that rare predators are using this area so the best choices can be made about how to manage this spectacular site. On an even more personal level, we just love the idea of sharing a bit of a wild creature's life by catching its image."

Other highlights from the Cascades include wildlife visiting camera stations located in the approaches to almost completed wildlife crossing structures along I-90, several young bear cubs visiting a station in the Chiwaukum Mountains, and a red fox on American Ridge Cascades in the William O. Douglas Wilderness.

In July, one of our cameras in northeast Washington recorded video of a gray wolf believed to be a young female of the Salmo Pack. Since no wolves from the Salmo Pack had been radio collared this season, this video helped increase our understanding of their current territory.

All of our season’s results increased our understanding of wildlife presence on the landscapes we monitored. And all are a testament to the richness, diversity, and wildness of Washington. None of the work could happen without our dedicated volunteer force.

The images from this season put a wild face to these special places and underscore the importance not only of monitoring, but the importance of conserving habitat so wildlife have places to thrive.

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