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Alberta Conservation Association, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation, and Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

Opportunity

Wolverines are scarce, elusive and notoriously difficult to study. Working in a collaborative partnership, Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures took a lead role in developing a novel research and monitoring technique that includes non-invasive genetic tagging and visual identification. The protocol involves the snagging of wolverine hair for the purpose of DNA analysis, and images collected by remote cameras. A collaboration that illustrates the value of the integrated design of the Alberta Innovation system, three organizations contributed to the development of a monitoring protocol assessing Alberta’s wolverine population. The new protocol allows researchers to collect data on the species in their natural habitat, with minimal disturbance.

 

Status

Monitoring the impact of urban and industrial developments on wildlife populations is difficult. Recognizing detailed knowledge of the wolverine population and distribution was not available, AITF undertook the first comprehensive study of wolverines in the province. Study results suggest there may be a relationship between industry activity and wolverine density. The data collected serves as a solid foundation for future research on Alberta’s wolverine population and becomes part of the body of science available to inform and support Alberta wildlife policy makers.

After a heavy snowfall, a wolverine approaches the camera at eye level. The animal's close proximity has resulted in a slightly out of focus image.
 
AITF's unique technique developed to monitor the wolverine population includes remote sensor cameras and bait surrounded with a few strands of barbed wire that collects hair samples used for DNA analysis.
 
Wolverines are not the only ones who visit monitoring stations.

To see more stories and videos, visit our Success Stories Map.

 

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Michelle Hiltz   Alberta Conservation Association
Acting Portfolio Manager   Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation
Ecosystem Management   Alberta Sustainable Resource Development
780-632-8387    
michelle.hiltz@albertainnovates.ca    
Michelle Hiltz bio    
     
Read more about Tech Futures' work in Mammal Research and Monitoring