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"Lee, how does the Wyoming Game and Fish Department survey for wolverines?"

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department surveys for wolverines by setting and maintaining noninvasive camera stations in potential wolverine habitat throughout the winter in an effort to detect wolverines. In all, we will set 51 camera stations throughout the western and Bighorn Mountains from 2015-2017; we set stations throughout the southern half of the study area last winter, and we are tackling the northern half this winter. Each camera station is coupled with bait and scent lure as well as hair snares to collect genetic information. We select specific station locations by targeting wolverine habitat within natural travel ways that are accessible by snowmobile or skis. You can see videos of our research this year online.

The cameras are programmed to photograph any warm-blooded animal (and occasionally a warm tree branch) that approaches the bait, which allows us to capture all species at the site on camera, including any wolverines. If a wolverine does visit, then the hair samples are sent to a genetics lab to verify species identification and determine the sex of the wolverine.

We travel to each camera station once per month to switch out the camera memory cards, collect hair samples, and replenish the bait and scent lure. Traveling to and from each camera site typically requires long days of snowmobiling and/or skiing in the mountains of Wyoming. We set all stations in November and take them down in April. We chose times when most bears are asleep.  

Lee Tafelmeyer
Wolverine Project Biologist

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