Thanks to a series of popular superhero films, “wolverine” is perhaps better known as the stuff of X-Men comics. But in the Idaho mountains, it’s a secretive member of the weasel family, a ferocious animal that biologists struggle to study thanks to its elusive nature.
That’s why Idaho Fish and Game officials are celebrating recent recordings of one on a Fish and Game camera near McCall. The video shows “at least one” tenacious, stocky wolverine climbing a tree to try to tear down a frozen deer leg, bait placed there by researchers to try to find out exactly how many of the creatures roam our state’s forests and where they live, according to a Fish and Game article.
“One of the 61 sites in Idaho where cameras are stationed is about 12 miles northeast of McCall, an area where wolverines have been known to inhabit in recent years,” the article said.
Bait and cameras were placed at random on a grid system around wilderness areas in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Washington along with wire brushes meant to snag hairs from the animals and help biologists determine how many animals inhabit certain territories, and whether some of them have already been studied.
According to Fish and Game, wildlife technicians brave the cold as they ski and snowmobile into the rugged, remote areas that wolverines are thought to inhabit. There, they place bait and scent lures and check camera memory cards.
The recent video, recorded in December 2016, will add to data researchers already have about competing male wolverines’ territory areas near McCall.
And the wolverine (or, potentially, multiple wolverines) caught on camera near McCall isn’t alone. Fish and Game cameras also spotted a marten, a smaller but equally stubborn weasel, making off with its own feast from the technicians’ bait.