SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. (KING) When a Washington state forest service biologist found some interesting tracks in the snow near Snoqualmie pass recently, he knew he was on the trail of something exciting.
Those tracks led him to a new understanding of one of the world’s most mysterious animals, the wolverine, and it’s expansion across the state.
Biologists in the North Cascades have been successfully capturing, tagging and releasing wolverines over the last five years. They know the notoriously cranky and elusive animals roam the high elevations and deep snow near the Canadian border, and they’re pushing south.
Biologist Aja Woodrow uses common do-it-yourself hardware to create wolverine research stations in the woods. The key elements are bait and motion detection cameras.
His efforts are giving new insight into how the creatures are adapting to new terrain.
“We’re looking at how wolverines deal with Interstate 90 and we want to maintain good connectivity north and south of I-90,” he says.
If wolverines are to truly reclaim their Washington state hunting ground, they’ll have to learn how to safely cross busy roads like Interstate 90.
Scientists are excited to see if a new animal overpass being constructed at the I-90 Snoqualmie summit will help wolverines and other animals safely cross the freeway into the southern part of the state.