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Yellowstone wolverine captured on video excites conservationists
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OUTDOORS JUST FOR KIDS

Yellowstone wolverine captured on video excites conservationists

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Camera shy

Wolverines are rare animals that live high in the mountains.

A few seconds of video showing a wolverine running past a trail camera is causing lots of excitement. That’s because the animals are rarely seen or photographed. The video was taken recently in Yellowstone National Park, near Mammoth Hot Springs.

The video posted on Yellowstone’s Facebook page drew more than 8,800 likes and generated 575 comments. You can find the video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/YellowstoneNPS/.

Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family. They grow up to be about 3- to 4-feet long and weigh from 13 to 31 pounds. They are also called carcajou and skunk bear.

Because they live in very steep mountains, accurate counts of wolverine populations are difficult. During a study from 2006 to 2009, Yellowstone scientists were able to count only seven wolverines in the eastern portion of the park. They did this by setting baited live traps.

Wolverines eat a variety of small mammals, plants and bird eggs. Despite their relatively small size, they have also been known to attack much larger animals like elk and deer for food.

To find food, they may travel a long way — up to 172 square miles for females in Yellowstone and 350 square miles for males. One of the Yellowstone wolverines walked all the way to Colorado.

The animals like to build their dens in deep snow, often in areas where there are avalanches. Scientists worry that with warmer winters and less snow, wolverines may lose the places they need to survive.

Montana has the largest wolverine population in the lower 48 states. For many years wolverine trapping was allowed here, but not now.

— Brett French, french@billingsgazette.com

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