M57 – also known as the Menan Male – went into one of the project’s log box traps sometime last night. The field crew up in Montana is trying to determine whether he’s still wearing his collar; every time they lift the lid on the trap, the wolverine charges and they have to slam the lid shut, so they aren’t having much luck. We are on standby, since it’s possible that we will need to head up to Montana to deliver a new GPS collar later today.
M57 was captured last year in a bobcat trap outside of Menan, Idaho – flat, un-wolverine-friendly habitat; we suspect that he was dispersing, either coming from or moving towards the Sawtooths. The trapper called the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which also runs a wolverine project, and WCS took the animal, instrumented him, and released him into the Centennials in Montana. M57 took off almost immediately for the Absarokas, where he established a territory that overlaps with F3. The two were observed close to each other during the summer mating season, so it’s possible that F3 is even now digging herself a snow cave in which to give birth.
In related news, Montana’s wolverine fur trapping season closed yesterday. According to the state’s website, trapping was still open in Region 3 when the season closed, which means that, at least according to the website, no wolverines were taken in our research area. I hope that a late report doesn’t come in, because if someone got a wolverine up there, it would probably be F3, and she’s far too valuable – to our research and, in longer-range thinking, to fur trapping if it is going to continue.
So that’s it. Wolverine in live trap, and awaiting word as to whether I need to pack my things for Montana!