Understanding wolverines helps us develop conservation strategies. Image: Steven Gnam
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Doug Chadwick

“They may just be the toughest animal in the world. When you weigh 15 kg and can back a full grown (225 kg) grizzly off a kill, that is just plain badass.”
Doug Chadwick, author of The Wolverine Way

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.


Wolverine Hot ProjectTo 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.


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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Dr. Tony Clevenger
Western Transportation Institute
Wolverine Watch

Related Information:

Crown of the Continent
Central Canadian Rocky Mountains
Protected and Public Lands
Flathead River Valley

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