Mapping the Wolverine Way
Y2Y is supporting research to support North America’s trans-boundary wolverine population.
(This video highlights wolverine research Dr. Tony Clevenger conducted in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. The Mapping the Wolverine Way project builds on this research and extends the survey into the areas outside the parks.)
These 30 lb. (13 kg) creatures are arguably one of the toughest animals in the wild. They will stand up to a grizzly bear for its kill and win. They have been tracked traveling 500 miles (800 km) across three American states in only 10 days and have climbed the near-vertical face of Mount Cleveland in January.
Although fierce, they are vulnerable. Like the grizzly, wolverines need interconnected blocks of large wilderness to survive. A combination of logging, mining and road networks are threatening to cut off U.S./Canada populations from each other. These elusive animals are currently listed as a Species at Risk in Canada and recently under consideration by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as Threatened if wolverine populations do not remain connected across the U.S.-Canada border.
To ensure they thrive on both sides of the border well into the future, we need to understand how their populations are distributed and where.
Previous research by wildlife biologist Dr. Tony Clevenger showed Canada’s Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks, as well as the Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park, are core areas for the trans-boundary population. Now he is studying the unprotected spaces in between these core areas.
Clevenger’s new study will investigate whether or not wolverine populations occupy this trans-boundary linkage zone and where there are areas that support gene flow. Not only will Clevenger’s work help ensure Canadian populations of wolverines are connected and genes flow to U.S. population, but also his findings will play a key role in guiding Y2Y’s conservation agenda in this area.
WHAT Y2Y IS DOING
Y2Y is helping to support and communicate the findings of Clevenger’s research. His findings play a key role in guiding Y2Y’s conservation agenda throughout southern Alberta’s Crown of the Continent and the Central Canadian Rocky Mountains, as well as British Columbia’s Flathead River Valley.
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WHO WE ARE WORKING WITH
GET THE LATEST: Mapping Wolverine News
With support from Y2Y, researchers are learning how wolverines are affected by highways and other barriers.
With Y2Y's multi-year support, Tony Clevenger’s research team is mapping the way for wolverines within the Yellowstone to Yukon region.
Wildlife scientist Tony Clevenger recommends that Parks Canada continue long-term monitoring of underpasses and overpasses on the Trans-Canada Highway in order to learn more about the wide-ranging animals and their needs.
A recent research study showed the number of wolverines in the southwest corner of the province south of Highway 3 was less than that in protected areas. As a result, Y2Y is calling for the Castle Special Place to be designated as a Wildland Park.
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official has ordered federal biologists to withdraw their conclusion that the last 300 wolverines in the continental United States deserve threatened species status.