Researchers looking for elusive wolverine near Snoqualmie

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 8 at 8:29 PM

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. -- A decade ago we didn't even know they were in Washington. Now, researchers have discovered wolverines roaming the state's back country. The question is, are they spreading out?

There are dozens of eyes monitoring the deep woods where only the wolverine and a few other hardy creatures dare roam during the cold winter months. Remote, motion -activated cameras are attached to trees patiently waiting for something to move.

Researcher Aja Woodrow is hoping that “something” is a wolverine.

Woodrow is doing surveys for the U.S. Forest Service, and on Friday, he was snowshoeing in search of a suitable research site.

Once he finds a location, he builds a small deck attached to a tree and then mounts a camera on a nearby tree. If a wolverine climbs up on the deck, the camera will snap several images that Woodrow and other researchers can use to identify the animal's size, sex and distinguishing markings.

All he has to do is attract the animal so he brings along a snack - two large hunks of raw cow meat, which he hangs from a metal line stretched between the two trees.

But to really get some attention, he dowses the base of the tree leading to the platform with a concoction of salmon guts and cow blood, and for good measure,  he throws in a little ground up skunk organ.

Yummie.

If he can attract a wolverine, it will be a big deal because his camera is set up, not in the remote Okanogan wilderness but in a secluded area near Snoqualmie summit. That would put a wolverine within just a few hours of Seattle.
 

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