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The Secret Life of Wolverines

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When you read the word “wolverine”, what comes to mind? A snarling, snapping North-American version of the Tasmanian devil? A fearsome furball taking down prey ten times its size?  Hugh Jackman? For a creature whose reputation has reached mythical proportions, it might surprise you to learn that there’s still a lot we don’t know about wolverines. Naturally rare, wolverines are found in remote wilderness areas, making them challenging study subjects. But with increasing pressure on the landscapes that wolverines and other wildlife call home, it’s more important than ever for land managers to have accurate information on wolverine populations in BC. Advances in research techniques and technology are not only providing the data necessary to protect wolverines, they’re actually changing the way we view this elusive species. Cliff Nietvelt is a BC government wildlife biologist who has been studying wolverines since 2009.  It was that year, working on a collaring project in the North Cascades, that he had his first up-close encounter with a wolverine. “We had set up a box trap and caught other carnivores but had no luck getting any wolverines,” recalls Cliff.  “I’d actually gone out to close the trap for a few days when I noticed...
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BC Fisher Habitat Website

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The BC Fisher Habitat Working Group has just launched a new website to assist BC forest licensees and their contractors to identify and retain important fisher habitat.  The site allows forest practitioners to download information and tools specific to their location and operational focus. The site includes: - spatial data that lets planning foresters identify habitats and retention targets for harvested areas - pictorial guides to help on-the-ground field crews identify trees and other habitats important to fishers, and - field guides to help operational staff retain fisher habitat in their day-to-day activities. The web site is also designed for use by trappers, First Nations, and other people who are interested in learning more about fisher conservation. Visit the BC Fisher Habitat Website The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is proud to be a major funder of this extension project.   
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HCTF Visits the Cariboo

HCTF Visits the Cariboo
As part of our evaluation program to ensure HCTF funds are benefiting fish and wildlife conservation, HCTF staff regularly visit project leaders to get an in-depth look at their projects – both on paper (financials) and on the ground. In late September HCTF staff biologist Kathryn Martell and financial officer Katelynn Sander travelled to Williams Lake to conduct evaluations on two projects. The first was the Fisher Artificial Reproductive Den Box Study  led by Larry Davis of Davis Environmental Ltd. Fishers are a threatened species in British Columbia and are also the largest obligate tree-cavity user in North America. They typically use cavities in large diameter trees both for resting in winter, and as reproductive dens. Suitable den trees are rare in the landscape and impacts in many areas of the province have further reduced the availability of this habitat feature. Larry’s project seeks to determine if fishers will use artificial (man-made) den boxes for reproductive dens, as a way to augment denning habitat in areas where natural den trees have been reduced. This year of the study continued the monitoring efforts on the 56 den boxes installed during this project. Larry has been successful in attracting fishers to 50%...
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Monitoring Vancouver Island Estuaries

Monitoring Vancouver Island Estuaries
 Thanks to Karen Barry from the  VICLMP program for sending us this project update! The Vancouver Island Conservation Land Management Program* has initiated a long term monitoring program to assess the health of estuaries and salt marshes on the east coast of Vancouver Island with support from HCTF and other partners. The goal of this monitoring program is to ensure that conservation lands provide high quality, accessible habitat for fish and wildlife, and to identify conservation concerns resulting from threats such as sea level rise, invasive species, or other human-induced changes. By implementing a standardized monitoring program, we can ensure investments made towards protection of sensitive estuaries are secured for the long-term. To determine the resiliency of coastal estuaries to sea level rise, we are installing Surface Elevation Tables (SET) platforms in several estuaries this summer, including Quatse River, Cluxewe River, Salmon River, Englishman River, Nanaimo River and Cowichan River estuaries. These devices allow us to see how salt marshes and estuaries are changing over time, by measuring changes in elevation of the substrate. The SET consists of an aluminum platform that is permanently installed in the estuary and anchored to prevent any movement. To take measurements, a specialized reader...
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Return of the Roosevelts

Return of the Roosevelts
Elk Translocation Program on Vancouver Island Aims to Restore Roosevelt Elk to Their Former Range  BC’s magnificent wildlife has long formed part of our province’s identity. Take the provincial Coat of Arms: while other Western provinces have chosen to include the likes of lions and unicorns into their designs, a pair of iconic ungulates make up BC’s provincial emblem. On the right, a bighorn ram represents the wildlife of the mainland. On the left, a rather wild-looking Roosevelt elk symbolizes Vancouver Island.  The Roosevelt is a fitting representative for the Island: it remains a stronghold for this species whose range was severely reduced following the arrival of the Europeans in the mid-19 th century. Though Roosevelts remain on BC’s list of species of concern, populations in some areas of the Island are thriving, to the point where conflicts are arising between humans and herds. On the Island’s east coast, near the village of Sayward, the Salmon River watershed is ideal habitat for elk. The moist, rich soils of the river’s floodplain produce optimal forage for Roosevelts, both in the form of native plant species and agricultural crops. This vegetational bounty has allowed elk numbers to increase to the point where...
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