Following recent news of wolverines reproducing in the South Cascades, a sad event in the larger story of their recovery in our state occurred last month.
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, on June 7th a “large male wolverine (37 lbs) was killed on I-90 between North Bend and Snoqualmie Pass”. This event followed a video that emerged from a camera station that recorded a wolverine walking by about five miles north of the town of Snoqualmie. The agency believes this wolverine was likely a dispersing individual because it was detected in a low-elevation forested habitat near developed areas, which is not considered highly suitable wolverine habitat. Photos of the recovered wolverine and the May video-footage show a wolverine with a similar chest blaze pattern, suggesting that the recovered wolverine was the same one detected at the camera station.
The male wolverine was struck on I-90 about seven air-miles to the west of the already completed Gold Creek and Hyak underpasses in the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project. The incident serves as a sad reminder of the danger of highways to wildlife on the move in our state, and underscores the importance of creating safer passage through wildlife crossings like the I-90 project.
Federal and state agency biologists worked in coordination to recover the wolverine to both learn more about the individual, and to preserve it for future outreach and education on this rare and inspiring species in our state.