Science | January 15, 2021 5:06 pm

First Wolverine Captured on Video in Yellowstone in Over a Decade

Encouraging news about a hard-to-find species

A wolverine
A wolverine recently made an appearance in Yellowstone.
Getty

Wolverines might not be an endangered species in the formal sense, but they have spent the last decade dealing with an increasingly hostile landscape. Their preference for snow and the conditions under which they thrive have been adversely affected by climate change, and the ways they’ve been targeted by hunters don’t help things either.

The last time a wolverine was seen in Yellowstone was over a decade ago, during the period between 2006 and 2009 when a camera system was in place to track the elusive mammals. Seven years ago, a new system was established, but to track cougars; for much of those seven years, no wolverines were caught on film. Thankfully, that’s changed.

At Earther, Brian Kahn has the news that a camera in the park recorded footage of a lumbering wolverine making its way across the landscape one morning. It’s the first visual evidence that wolverines — or, at least, a wolverine — remain in the park.

Kahn points out that wolverines are not terribly populous in the contiguous United States; there may be under 300 total. It’s one of several reasons why a sighting of one particular wolverine is of interest to so many and why it might have encouraging implications.