Wolverine Watchers

© Anna Yu / iStockphotoOur “Wolverine Watchers” set up 22 wildlife monitoring stations in the northern half of Bitterroot National Forest. We equipped the monitoring stations with wildlife cameras and baited “hair snares” – effective and non-invasive tools to gather data on multiple wildlife species simultaneously. We use the hair snares (essentially wire brushes) to collect – you guessed it – hair from different animals. Then we send these samples to a genetics lab to determine what species the hair is from. We also installed wildlife cameras on nearby trees to capture any activity that occurred at the station. Not only did our volunteers trek deep into the forest (not an easy task in an icy Montana winter!) to set up each of these 22 stations, they also returned every 3-4 weeks from January to April to check for wildlife activity and re-bait stations. And on top of that, each time they had to carry a hunk of roadkilled deer (the bait) and a sponge with extraordinarily stinky lure (to attract wide-ranging animals like wolverines to our sites)! The data they collected gave us extremely valuable information about what animals live in the area, and how often they came to these sites.

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