National News

Biologists hope monitoring efforts will show return of wolverines to Mt. Hood National Forest

Posted November 7, 2017 11:58 a.m. EST

— Volunteers with Cascadia Wild are working to track and document the wildlife that inhabits the forest around Mount Hood.

The organization's work began in the year 2000, as an effort to determine whether wolverines still live in the area.

The animals were trapped to extinction in the Mount Hood National Forest, but a forest biologist thought he'd found sign of their re-emergence.

Years of monitoring hasn't turned up additional evidence, but the project has since expanded to include other sensitive species of wildlife, like the elusive alpine fox.

Cascadia Wild volunteers also track and monitor other species, like hares, bears and coyotes that live on the mountain, or the forests around it, using a system of 12 cameras equipped with motion sensors.

Information volunteers gather is shared with biologists with the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, to help inform decisions about how to manage the land around the mountain.

Biologists and volunteers still hold out hope for the eventual return of the wolverine to the area, now that trapping them is banned.

"So far, they've been seen in the Wallowas in eastern Oregon and as far south as Mount Adams in Washington. So it seems only a matter of time before they're going to migrate back to the Mount Hood National Forest," said Teri Lysak, who chairs Cascadia Wild's board of directors.

Cascadia Wild holds regular training sessions to teach volunteers how to read animal tracks and maintain camera equipment.