Elusive wolverine caught on Yellowstone wildlife camera for the first time

A camera trap set up to track the movement of cougars in Yellowstone National Park has captured an even more elusive creature: a wolverine. According to the park, this is the first time the rare mammal has been caught on a wildlife camera.

Installed in 2014 with the aim of capturing cougars prowling through the park, the wildlife cameras have also proved to be useful for detecting and studying a variety of species, yet a wolverine has never been among those species.

Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are mid-sized carnivores in the weasel family that typically thrive in mountainous areas with forest or tundra habitats, according to park officials. Between 2006 and 2009, there have only been seven wolverines (two females and five males) spotted in the eastern Yellowstone and adjoining forests.

The elusive mammals are hard to document because they tend to live in remote areas and can move quickly over a short period. “Wolverines are so rarely seen and inhabit such remote terrain at low densities that assessing population trends is difficult and sudden declines could go unnoticed for years,” said park officials.

And while the population of wolverines currently inhabiting the park is already relatively small, the animal may become even more elusive as a result of climate change. Less snow as a result of warmer temperatures is expected to limit the species to live in the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada range, and the greater Yellowstone area by 2050.

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Elusive wolverine caught on Yellowstone wildlife camera for the first time

A camera trap set up to track the movement of cougars in Yellowstone National Park has captured an even more elusive creature: a wolverine. According to the park, this is the first time the rare mammal has been caught on a wildlife camera.

Installed in 2014 with the aim of capturing cougars prowling through the park, the wildlife cameras have also proved to be useful for detecting and studying a variety of species, yet a wolverine has never been among those species.

Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are mid-sized carnivores in the weasel family that typically thrive in mountainous areas with forest or tundra habitats, according to park officials. Between 2006 and 2009, there have only been seven wolverines (two females and five males) spotted in the eastern Yellowstone and adjoining forests.

The elusive mammals are hard to document because they tend to live in remote areas and can move quickly over a short period. “Wolverines are so rarely seen and inhabit such remote terrain at low densities that assessing population trends is difficult and sudden declines could go unnoticed for years,” said park officials.

And while the population of wolverines currently inhabiting the park is already relatively small, the animal may become even more elusive as a result of climate change. Less snow as a result of warmer temperatures is expected to limit the species to live in the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada range, and the greater Yellowstone area by 2050.

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