It sounds like election news, and it sort of is. In a public vote held by Zoo Boise that ended last Friday, October 28, the wolverine study proposal written by FSPW executive Phil Hough was not only chosen as one of the four to be funded, but won “going away.” The proposal to fund continued wolverine study in northern Idaho and western Montana received the most votes of any of the eight proposals that made the final list of contenders for four Zoo Boise Conservation Fund grants.
Zoo Boise on Friday, November 4, announced that FSPW will receive the entire amount they applied for, $29,700. This means that FSPW will be able to hire a half-time project coordinator for a study to be conducted by Idaho Department of Fish and Game in cooperation with Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, Idaho Conservation League, Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education, Selkirk Conservation Alliance and other community volunteers.
“This is a continuation of a project we got involved in last year,” says Hough. “We were amazed by how much interest it generated, and felt that it was certainly worth continuing this year.”
The project, initiated by IDFG biologists Michael Lucid and Lacy Robinson, attracted dozens of volunteer-days from groups and individuals during the 2010-11 winter, as well as captured on film at remote-camera bait stations a variety of mustelids that included martins, fishers and wolverines. With the Zoo Boise grant, FSPW will help expand the hunt by providing a couple of dozen more Reconix cameras as well as employment of a half-time project coordinator who will work for FSPW and be hired by mid-November.
“Last year,” says Robinson, “we worked on a 10 kilometer grid. This year, we will be able to get lots more information with a 5-k grid.”
Also, Lucid and Robinson will have at their disposal a number of portable wolverine traps that can be moved relatively quickly into an area where one of the remote cameras has spotted a wolverine. The hope is to capture and collar females and so identify how many are in the Scotchman Peaks and American Selkirks. The information gathered will be helpful in helping the Forest Service develop winter travel plans as well as monitoring the population of mustelids.
FSPW is accepting applications now, and the job description, as well as contact information, can be downloaded at https://www.scotchmanpeaks.org/pdfs/Wolverine_Program_Job_Description.pdf