Last month, biologists in Yellowstone got an early Christmas present. They have trail cameras set up to keep track of mountain lions for a study they’re doing on the big cats, but those cameras often catch other wildlife, too. And early in December, they recorded one of the rarest mammals in the park.
The camera, which was in the Mammoth Hot Springs area, triggered on movement early in the morning of Dec. 4. But then it continued to film, and it captured about two seconds of very clear video of a wolverine running through the forest.
Biologists know there are wolverines in Yellowstone, but they are extremely rare. Before this video, there have only been seven other sightings of wolverines in the park since 2006. But they’re out there. They are extreme loners in the animal kindom – they have large territories, and they don’t tolerate competition from other animals, including other wolverines. The Park Service describes wolverines as being “aggressive introverts,” which might be the best possible description for their attitudes. In the areas where they are known to be active, they are still rarely seen, even by biologists trying to study them. They are masters of staying hidden, but if you do happen upon one, don’t stick around. They are fiercely defensive, and they’re big enough to cause a lot of damage.
But you probably don’t have to worry about bumping into one. As the footage from Yellowstone reveals, they can be found in Wyoming, but they are still quite rare. It is encouraging to see the video showing that there are still some wolverines around.