Wolverines as search and rescue “dogs”: good idea for YOSAR?

large wolvering

The wolverine is an aggressive hunter

Here’s a story that is very different.  How about training wolverines to perform search and rescue?

Wolverines?   What are they? Wikipedia sez:

It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids. The wolverine, a solitary animal, has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times larger than itself.

Mustelids??   Whatever.  So are we are going to trust them to help people in distress? Read on.

I saw this article in Outside magazine. Oh, I get it free by trading in American Airlines miles for magazines. I only had 8,000 miles – so I’d never get a free trip and before they expired. AA is clearing their books. I guess. Why not just let them expire?

Anyway, there is a man in Anchorage who takes captive-raised wolverines and trains them. They can smell things (like dinner 20 feet below the snow).Why not sniff out people? From birth they are subjected to “operant conditioning“…do and get a reward. Just like our Yorkie!

A downside: when they mark their territory, they let out a pungent odor. Some folks all them “skunk bears.”

Their sense of smell is better than dogs. Wolverines in nature have to be good at detecting prey. Rover just sits around the house waiting for puppy chow.

The breeders are talking to the Alaska Fish and Game department for potential use in avalanches. Maybe Yosemite Search and Rescue, aka YOSAR, may one day employ them. Dogs are used now – but who knows?

Learn more about dogs in search and rescue.

Carpe Diem!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Rescue me. Take me in your arms. Rescue me, I want your tender charm. Cause I’m lonely Rescue me” – Fontella Bass
Read “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome



About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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