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Idaho Wolverine Trapped Tagged and Released

January 26, 2009

Idaho Falls, Idaho - When a local Menan recreational trapper headed out to check his bobcat trap set, probably the last thing he expected to find was a wolverine.

Wolverines are secretive animals whose numbers and travels still remain a mystery. Fortunately, the incidental trapping of this young male wolverine will help provide biologists with a new chapter in the study of wolverines in Idaho.

The wolverine might not agree, but the timing of this incident couldn't have been better in relation to a wildlife management partnership that was created last year in Eastern Idaho. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Forest Service and the Wildlife Conservation Society together created a professional biologist position dedicated to manage the large predators that inhabit the Upper Snake Region.

Bryan Aber, a Forest Service wildlife biologist on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, had his job morphed into a jointly funded position responsible for wolves, grizzly bears and wolverines.

Wolverines are a protected nongame species, and thanks to a modern foothold trap, the animal could be sedated and removed without incident. It was then whisked by Aber to the Driggs Veterinary Clinic, vets who have helped with wolverine research in the past.

After a thorough checkup, doctors implanted an internal radio transmitter in the young male wolverine to allow wildlife biologists to track his movements.

Past research using internal transmitters has proven successful.

The tapered body of wolverines make use of traditional radio collars difficult, but the animal was also fitted with a GPS tracking collar that will provide exact time and location data for as long as it stays on the animal.

After a brief holding period, the animal was transported and released in habitat that is considered to be better suited for wolverines. Aber and other biologists will track the wolverine's movements, hoping to learn what attracted the animal to the area.
 
 
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