Quirks & Quarks

Wolverines can be seduced with the right scent

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently considering whether wolverines should be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Before they can do that, they need to know how many wolverines are in the wild.
Researchers are trying to determine whether the elusive wolverine should be given threatened species status. (Jeff Ford/Associated Press/Canadian Press)
Listen8:49

Wolverines are extremely shy, but fierce, scavengers with big claws that can dig up frozen carcasses, and jaws that are powerful enough to bite through them. They thrive in winter conditions and build their dens right in the snow. Historically, they've been heavily trapped and so researchers are unsure of their numbers.

For the past several years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been considering whether wolverines should be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Dr. Robert Long is a senior conservation fellow at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. He and his work/life partner, and an engineer from Microsoft  have developed a high-tech scent lure. It's showing promising signs of wooing these enigmatic animals out in the open where they can be tracked and counted.

A camera trap captures a wolverine climbing a tree as it follows the scent lure set by researchers (Robert Long)

Related Links:

  • A story on Mongabay, an environmental science, conservation news and information site
  • A High Country News story about Washington State's wolverines