Since the 1990's we have been monitoring the existence and distribution of forest carnivores in the Swan Valley. In the early years, we conducted track surveys in snowy winter conditions for rare carnivores such as Canada lynx, fisher, marten and wolverine.
As the interest in these rare carnivores escalated, a collaborative effort focused on obtaining more concrete data on the distribution, abundance and genetics of these carnivores was formed.
From 2012-2016, SVC partnered with other entities on the Southwestern Crown Collaborative Carnivore Monitoring Project. See link below for detailed results.
SVC continues to partner with other entities to monitor rare carnivores in the Southwestern Crown of the Continent. In 2018, SVC has partnered with the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service to monitor carnivores in and around the Clearwater/Blackfoot Project area.
Objectives of this project on forest carnivores are to:
- Monitor landscape changes to carnivore populations during implementation of the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program, and beyond;
- Develop a better understanding of the distribution and relative abundance of rare carnivores across the project area;
- Collect empirical information upon which to base management decisions and inform conservation strategies;
- Collect genetic material from the three focal species which will establish important baseline information (individual ID & sex, sub-population genetics) and add to the existing body of knowledge of these species in the Northern Rockies;
- Better understand travel routes and coarse habitat selection for these species;
- Complement ongoing research and monitoring efforts in the region;
- Identify "hot spots" where more intensive research could be conducted (e.g. GPS collar deployment to study specific habitat use);
- Make a concerted effort to survey roadless and wilderness efforts that have received very little survey effort to date; and
- Raise community awareness/increase support among partners and the general public for forest carnivore conservation.
If you are interested in learning more about forest carnivores or gaining tracking skills, register for our Animal Tracks & Sign course.
IMAGE CREDITS: wolverine - AYImages;
Canada lynx - Chris Lorenz