Wolverines on the Red Carpet

Jasper and wildlife rehabilitator Steve Kroschel set the scene during the filming of Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom. Photo copyright Gianna Savoie.

PBS Nature’s Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom premieres in less than 24 hours, at 8:00 pm on Sunday, November 14th. I’m entertaining a vision of a Hollywood event, with wolverines strolling down a red carpet to the fanfare of adoring crowds and the flash of paparazzi photography. Of course, one of the many things that makes wolverines so amazing is the fact that they’re charismatic enough to win a legion of devoted fans without the drama and glamor – they’re simply so compelling that you can’t help but be fascinated.

If wolverines can’t have a real red carpet, the way to the premiere is being paved by the cyber equivalent; the PBS website has several new goodies, including an interview with Doug Chadwick, author of The Wolverine Way, and a photo gallery with shots of the captive wolverine stars. PBS has also done something I’ve always wanted to do: walked around with a video camera asking people what they know about wolverines, and recording the answers. The result is entertaining testimony to the fact that the documentary is a much needed addition to wildlife education.

This week also sees the premiere of The Wolverine Network website, which serves as a portal to other wolverine sites. The group is a coalition of wolverine-interested groups and individuals hoping to build support for research, and awareness about wolverine conservation needs. The Wolverine Foundation, the nexus of worldwide wolverine research and, for many years, the sole online gulo presence, remains the place to go for synopses of research projects, monthly wolverine art features, great kids’ pages, and some pretty awesome wolverine hats. Rumor has it that this website will soon receive a multimedia makeover, making the content even more accessible while maintaining the commitment to covering every facet of wolverine ecology and lore.

Wolverine researcher Jeff Copeland, director of the Glacier National Park Wolverine Project, interviewed during a typical day at work. Photo copyright Gianna Savoie.

So tune in on the 14th at 8:00 pm, and then check out the Wolverine Foundation, the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative’s wolverine ecology page, the Wolverine Network, and the other information out there. And let me know what you think, of the film, the animal, and the researchers who pour so much effort into obtaining such scarce data about such an incredible species.

Jasper. Photo copyright PBS Nature.

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3 thoughts on “Wolverines on the Red Carpet

  1. Yesterday evening’s Nova coverage on the wolverine was terrific!

    I was particularly struck by the statistic (Copeland’s, I think) of 4900 feet of altitude in 90 minutes in deep snow. It suggests metabolic energy conversion far superior to that of human olympic athletes. I hope that some biochemist gets interested in how the wolverine’s body chemistry does it — with applications to human performance.

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