Photos and video taken during a research trip this month show baby wolverines in the South Cascades for the first time in more than 50 years.
A field crew with Cascades Carnivore Project set up cameras at the den entrances and found a wolverine pair have two babies, or kits, in the William O. Douglas Wilderness east of Mount Rainier National Park.
The kits are likely between 2.5 and three months old, because wolverines typically give birth in mid to late February, according to the project.
Both the female, who is named Pepper, and the male were detected at the den.
Female wolverines hunt and scavenge for food, such as mountain goat carrion, snowshoe hare, and marmot. Researchers found prey items in snow caches deep in tree wells that act like refrigerators.
The den, which was first discovered in March, is the third wolverine den in Washington state.
“Wolverines are re-occupying portions of their historical distribution in the Washington Cascades, which is good news for wolverine conservation,” said Conservation Director Jocelyn Atkins. “However, their abundance throughout the contiguous United States remains very low and they face new potential threats from climate change, loss of habitat, and increased recreation in remote, wilderness areas.”