• A wolverine circles the bait at one of the 60 stations placed on the Bitterroot National Forest by biologist Andrea Shortsleeve and her crew. Courtesy image

    Bitterroot critter cam captures elusive wolverine

    Here’s a cool Montana story focused on a study about wolverines – an animal biologists know little about.

    As Ravalli Republic reporter Perry Backus tell us in his story, biologist believe several wolverines were caught on motion-activated cameras set up by biologists who attracted the animals with a carcass.

    Images of wolverines were captured at eight different sites. They also captured fur that will allow them to identify and study the wolverines more thoroughly.

    The smell of rotting meat didn’t just attract wolverines.

    For the last two winters, that’s just what Bitterroot National Forest wildlife biologist Andrea Shortsleeve has done in an attempt to better understand the habits of forest predators on the prowl.

    A fox climbs a tree to take a bite from a bait station used to monitor predators by Bitterroot National Forest biologists last winter. Courtesy image

    A fox climbs a tree to take a bite from a bait station used to monitor predators by Bitterroot National Forest biologists last winter. Courtesy image

    Last winter, the photographs taken on 60 different bait sites offered a glimpse into the lives of bobcat, marten, fox, mountain lion and even a trio of squabbling eagles in the Bitterroot and Sapphire mountains.

    The main focus of the study was the most secretive predator of all.

    No one knows for sure just how many wolverines there are on the Bitterroot National Forest. Before Shortsleeve and her crew began setting their motion-sensitive trail cameras up to document critters drawn to the smell of rotting meat, no one even knew where they ventured.

    See the enter slideshow of images here.

    - Jenna

  • Handpicked horses help riders find mobility, independence

    Here’s a sweet story out of the Bitterroot Valley for you on a almost-summer Thursday.

    The Bitterroot Theraputic Ranch near Corvallis is home to special horses that, as writer Brett Berntsen explains, have a very special duties.

    Take Tonah, for example:

    Tonah, a Norwegian Fjord, fits the mold perfectly. As a small draft horse, she can carry heavy loads yet isn’t tall, making it easy to mount and dismount. Moreover, she has the calm, patient demeanor necessary for long days in the arena.

    . . .

    Astride a beige mare named Tonah, Abbie Jessop leads the exercise. Despite being born with cerebral palsy and nearly deaf, the 18-year-old Pinesdale resident rides independently.

    She steers the patient mare next to a metal rack holding plastic rings. Reaching up with a shaky hand, she spears a ring and drops it onto a nearby cone like a gaucho in training.

    We featured the ranch in our May/June issue with a spread of amazing photos by photography Lido Vizzutti. Grab a copy to see all the photos.

    Until then, the full story is online now.

    Enjoy!

    - Jenna