WCS's Arctic Beringia Program recently sponsored the largest-ever survey of wolverines on the Arctic Slope of Alaska. Spotting one out there, though, even with an aerial view like this (which we've zoomed in on), isn't easy. Wolverines are solitary and some males can range 150-plus miles.
There are also competing tracks to weed out. If you look closely at this image, you can see the footprints of a fox, too. How's one to tell the difference? The size of the tracks helps, says WCS's Martin Robards. Also, unlike the tracks of a fox and a wolf, which usually fall in a straight line in sets of one or two, wolverine tracks look "messy"—two or three marks offset from the previous prints.
Robards and the survey team would know. The chart below is a snapshot of their collective efforts. Each hexagon is 100 square kilometers (or 38-plus square miles) of Alaskan terrain.
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