Wild Tracks

On behalf of the world's wild species

Category Archives: North American carnivores

Wolverine Uses Highway Overpass in Banff Park

Wolverines are in the local news again!

A wolverine has finally used a wildlife overpass to get across the deadly TransCanada Highway in Banff National Park – the first recorded crossing in 15 years for this species.

It’s the first time a wolverine has ever been photographed on one of the multi-million-dollar overpass structures in Banff, which were built to stop roadkill, help animals access critical habitat and keep populations connected.

Read more about the highway passes that have seen 200,000 crossings by wildlife, including grizzly and black bears, wolves and ungulates.

From Highway Wilding 

This is a tiny fraction of the amazing photos of wildlife that have been captured in the last 15 years on wildlife crossing structures that span the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park.

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Black Bear Birth Caught on Video

The good folks at The Bear Study group have been monitoring a female black bear named Jewel in her winter den. This past weekend, Jewel increased the black bear population by two. The tiny little cubs are hard to see at first, but you can certainly hear them when they’re born!

The Wildlife Research Institute is conducting the longest and most detailed black bear study and the largest educational outreach program ever for black bears. Keep an eye on their black bear den cam to follow the growth of these newest of carnivores!

Speaking of Wild Tracks: Identified

I should first clarify that incredible photo of animal tracks in the snow was (unfortunately) not taken by me. It was taken by a friend, who with his sons, was visiting northern Alberta earlier this month. They saw these marks in the snow and were completely stumped as to what could have made them. They mentioned their sightings to a local man, and he said he had seen similar tracks earlier in the week and was equally stumped. Then he walked around a bend in the road and saw the culprits – a pair of Northern River Otters.

Thse playful little animals are active year round, even when water freezes in winter. They are mainly nocturnal, with some activity at dusk and dawn, and you have to be incredibly lucky to see one in the wild.

North American River Otters typically travel in water and are able to swim long distances under ice during the winter. Family groups may travel long distances over land from one watershed to another. When traveling on land, they often slide instead of bounding, especially if snow is present, or when going downhill on slippery ground. When snow sliding, they push forward with their back legs, while the front feet are tucked under the belly.

I managed to find this video on YouTube that gives a clear picture of how those tracks were made in the Jan 6 photo. How cool are these animals?!

Speaking of Wild Tracks…

What kind of critter do you think left these tracks in the snow? This picture was taken in northern Alberta, Canada, just south of the Northwest Territories border. Leave your best guess in the comments, and no they aren’t cross country ski tracks!