Wolverines caught on video playing in Glacier National Park

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Daily Brew

Wolverines may have been given a cultural boost by Hugh Jackman, but the animal remains elusive and difficult to spot in the wild.

That's why rare new footage captured by motion sensitive cameras at B.C.'s Glacier National Park has left researchers anxious to gather more documentation.

Parks Canada set up their cameras earlier this year to try and detect the presence and behaviour of the small, stocky, bear-like creatures in relation to the nearby Trans-Canada Highway and railway lines.

Study sites, including baited trees with barbed wire, were also put together to see if researchers could collect hair samples that would help in determining genetic patterns.

It was at one of these sites that the images were recorded.

In the video, a wolverine ambles into the frame after noticing a rope that has come loose from a feed bait station. The wolverine engages in what appears to be a game of furry tetherball with the rope before losing interest and moving away.

A second clip shows the animal tangling with the same rope at night.

The footage has thrilled park biologist Kelsey Furk. "Few people ever see a wolverine in the wild and here we have recorded images of a wolverine doing something unique at one of the research stations," she said on the Parks Canada website.

The site's success has researchers debating whether to extend the study into the following year.

Considered the largest land-dwelling species of the weasel family, wolverines are known for their disproportionate strength and ferocity and their ability to take down much larger prey.

Though their numbers have dwindled since the 19th century due to trapping, range reduction and environmental changes, substantial populations still roam freely in forests along the northern ridges of Canada, the U.S., Nordic Europe, and western Russia.

But while they may look fun and playful in the video, Furk said in the improbable likelihood you meet one, do not attempt to challenge it to a tetherball match.

"This is a rare glimpse of an animal that most have never seen and we wanted to share this with Canadians, but it is important to note that wolverine are wild animals and should not be approached."