Rare and Raw: Wild Wolverine Video

Candice Gaukel Andrews October 12, 2017 0

A wolverine’s large, snowshoe-like paws and claws that grip like crampons make it adept in wintry terrains. ©Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Wolverines are exceedingly rare. It’s estimated that less than 250 of them still roam the Lower 48, almost exclusively in the rugged Rocky Mountains and North Cascades in the West.

Wolverines, the largest terrestrial member of the weasel family, are well-adapted for winter: they have extremely dense fur, large snowshoe-like paws that allow them to stay on top of deep snow and crampon-like claws that enable them to climb up and over steep cliffs and snow-covered peaks.

Those paws and claws make them great travelers. They always seem to be on the move. Their ability to travel year-round through arduous alpine environments and over extraordinary distances is legendary. Wolverines often go right over mountains instead of taking the easy way around. Defenders of Wildlife reports that one male wolverine near Yellowstone National Park traveled more than 500 miles in 42 days. They’re capable of hiking more than 15 miles in one night.

Because of their scarcity and preference for wilderness, photographing wolverines in the wild is exceptionally difficult. That’s what makes the video below so exciting. The footage, taken during the Fourth of July weekend in 2017, shows a wild wolverine attempting to kill a fawn near Ajax Peak in Montana. Shot by an amateur videographer, it’s far from slick. But it does offer one of those rare windows on nature that seldom ever open for us.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,

Candy

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