Wolverines in Glacier National Park

The Highline Trail in Glacier National Park may be the best place in the world to spot a wolverine, says Jeff Copeland, a renowned expert on this elusive member of the weasel family. "They thrive here because there’s great sub-alpine habitat and so many prey species, such as mountain goats, marmots, and squirrels.”

Wolverines follow their nose, and one inquisitive animal followed his into our Wildlife Remote Video Series.

The wolverine may not be beautiful, but it is a thing of beauty, says photographer Chris Peterson, publisher of Glacier Park Magazine. Peterson's Summer 2009 issue tells of watching this wolverine dig for a frozen mountain goat, buried in an avalanche. (click on view website One Hundred Days in Glacier National Park link)


Wildlife Remote

Wildlife Remote is a video series using remote video footage captured by the U.S. Geological Survey as part of a massive grizzly bear census. In addition to fascinating footage of grizzly bears, the remote-sensor cameras captured images of wolverine, wolves, red fox, deer, and pine marten, among other critters.

The video footage of Glacier wildlife in 2005-2007 was taken unbeknownst to the animals. USGS had set up remote cameras in strategic locations suspected to be key wildlife movement zones.

Kate's ambitious and successful project developed a DNA-based census of grizzly bears on the Montana side of the Crown of the Continent. Her team captured genetic samples using bait-scented, barbed-wire snag traps and traditional bear rub trees, which sometimes are used by successive generations of bears.

The remote cameras are used by researchers in a few locations to verify whether all bear visitors actually leave a hair sample and to photographically document the behavior of grizzlies and wildlife near hair-capture sites.

An excellent multi-year wolverine study has been undertaken by biologists Jeff Copeland and Rick Yates, with steady support from Dan Savage, Marci Johnson, Kate Wilmot, Rebecca Hadwin. Buck Hasson, Doug Chadwick, and other volunteers. Their study of 23 wolverines has produced more information about this rare animal than perhaps any ever conducted.

News and Background Links

From the wolverine's perspective, the age of climate change does not bode well in the Crown of the Continent. Females den and raise their kits in the tunnels of alpine snowfields. Less snow and more rain strip them of critical winter shelter. Read more at https://www.npca.org/articles/1029-on-a-ledge.

Missoulian reporter Michael Jamison wrote about wolverines in August 2009 http://www.missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_46e269ae-863a-11de-a409-001cc4c002e0.html

Location

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Latitude: 48.7192817 Longitude: -113.6928749 Elevation: 7560 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Steve Thompson

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Comments

I appreciate this information. I enjoy wildlife and had visited Glacier National Park several years ago. I noticed something in a valley on the Going to the Sun Road but it was too far away to make it out. I wondered what could be about that size ( I was hoping to see a grizzly bear). I wondered if it could be a wolverine. Thanks for proving I am not crazy!!

Janice Stewart, 5/24/2016

Thanks for having this available. I only wish there was more information, haha. I've liked them ever since I heard about them around age 5. If I'm very lucky, maybe I'll be able to afford to go to Glacier and stumble on one of these frickin' awesome little guys one day. From a distance.

Jacob Magura, 7/23/2017

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