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Mapping the Wolverine Way

Started: November, 2014 Ended: November, 2016 Project ID #4W5261 Status: Completed

Objective

The objective of this project is to understand the effects of human activity on wolverine distribution, connectivity and gene flow in the southern Canadian Rockies.

Abstract

The Canadian portion of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem has been identified as crucial for wolverines north of the US border to supply individuals and genes through dispersal to the highly fragmented population in the northern US Rocky Mountains.  Transportation infrastructure, oil and gas exploration, and forestry are significant threats to wolverines. Until now, models using data from wolverines from the U.S. have been used to predict habitat use, travel corridors and connectivity among wolverine populations in the transboundary Crown of the Continent region. The most basic demographic and genetic information on southern Canadian wolverines is largely unknown. This is a cause for concern since wolverines are still legally harvested and their habitat is increasingly fragmented by Highway 3, recreational activity and resource extraction in this part of the species' range outside of national parks. Identifying dispersal corridors for maintaining connectivity within in the transboundary region in the southern Canadian Rockies will be crucial for the long--‐term viability of wolverines in the contiguous US in face of a warming climate, increasing habitat loss and human pressure.

The proposed research is the second and third years of a 3-year project that will non-invasively survey wolverines in this largely unstudied and vitally important transboundary linkage region between the core protected areas of national parks in the north (Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay) and national parks south of the US Border (Glacier, Waterton Lakes).  The second year will consist of sampling approximately 60 sites each year in the Southern Canadian Rockies in the southeast British Columbia and southwest Alberta.

Contacts

Sponsors & Partners

  • Wilburforce Foundation Sponsor

Part of: Road Ecology

Project Tagged In: wildlife connectivity, habitats

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