“It’s just like training dogs, but wolverines are so much more intelligent than a dog”
People have recruited all types of animals for all types of tasks, and now a new animal is getting this limelight.
The wolverine, a solitary and ferocious animal that sports long claws and razor-sharp teeth might not be the most obvious choice to be a rescue animal.
A new one-of-a-kind pilot project has been launched in the hope that these blood-thirsty beasts can save skiers who are caught in avalanches.
Steve Kroschel, who is a founder of the project points out that wolverine’s high level of intelligence, as well as its powerful sense of smell, makes it a great candidate for mountain rescues.
“Wolverines are so smart that within, I would say, a week, you could train them to do this, to find a human scent”Steve Kroschel
Wolverines are both scavenger and predator and are able to take down anything from a deer to a bear.
Steve Kroschel, who is an Alaskan wildlife photographer spent decades training wolverines and thinks they are the way forward for mountain rescue.
“Al would receive wolverines from the north. There was a time when trappers would catch them instead of shooting them, and there were a few that could be saved for educational purposes. And that’s where it first started.”
Despite their nasty reputation, he says wolverines are easily tamed.
“They just really become a companion like no other wild animal that I’ve ever worked with,” Kroschel said. “You can train them to a harness very easily, they love that. And when they’re bonded with you, they will follow you around in the mountains like a dog.
“And they stay gentle to you, as opposed to wolves, lynx or grizzly or any of the other fur-bearing animals of North America that I work with.”