Excerpt: For the third consecutive year, Defenders of Wildlife has teamed up with wildlife biologists from the Bitterroot National Forest to monitor multiple species of mesocarnivores (medium sized meat eaters like lynx, fishers, martens, and wolverines) in the Bitterroot Mountains of western Montana. Known as the Wolverine Watchers program, our small army of volunteers has run 23 monitoring stations during the winter field season. These 130 citizen scientists, including many diehards on their third year of participation, have been gathering data from motion cameras and genetic samples from hair snares on these elusive forest dwellers.
This project harnesses the collective interest of agencies, conservation organizations and local volunteers to learn more about these rare species and their habitat to inform management decisions and contribute toward recovery. Recent significant decreases in Forest Service funding makes wildlife monitoring even more challenging. Our goal is to provide valuable data to Bitterroot National Forest officials and to other researchers, managers and conservationists. This as a prime example of citizen science contributing valuable and cost-effective data and has proven the use of citizen science in mesocarnivore monitoring is possible and appropriate.