Wolverine: Ghost of the Northern Forest recounts the fascinating story of Emmy Award winning Alberta wildlife filmmaker Andrew Manske’s relentless, five-year quest to find and film one of the most legendary and elusive creatures on the planet. The wolverine is a small animal with a big reputation. It might weigh less than 20 kilograms, but this intrepid member of the weasel family has been known to back down marauding bears and wolves in defense of its young or its food.
Armed with fearsome claws and canines, a bite force stronger than any other carnivore on earth and a reputation for fearlessness, the wolverine, whose Latin name Gulo gulo literally means glutton, is not the kind of animal any other animal, humans included, really wants to mess with.
But nasty reputation aside, the reality is we really don’t know much about the secretive world and life of the wolverine. Living in remote areas of the boreal forest, it is rarely ever seen. After two decades of filming most of the other major predators of the north, award-winning cinematographer Andrew Manske takes up the ultimate challenge of his career when he set out to make a film about this animal.
Manske’s interest is initially piqued by seeing some remote, motion-activated trail camera footage of wolverines scampering around near a trap-line in northwestern Alberta. As he tells us early in his film, he is hooked and determined to go out and directly capture footage of them himself. He has heard that wolverines like to hunt beaver so he sets up a blind near a beaver lodge and waits. It takes some days but he eventually records a few shots of a lone wolverine. Unfortunately, it is after dusk and the quality of his footage is poor. But trail camera footage from the same location reveals that there are other wolverines here too – they are just waiting until after dark to come out. Manske realizes he has been outsmarted! The trail cameras reveal something else. Wolverines, long thought of a solitary wanderers, are in fact quite social, hanging around the beaver lodge in small groups.
Seeking insights into wolverine behaviour that might aid his efforts to film them, Manske meets researchers with The Wolverine Project. Led by biologists Dr. Mark Boyce and Matt Scrafford from the University of Alberta, it is the most wide-ranging study of wolverine ecology ever undertaken in North America. Boyce, a veteran wilderness scientist, is in awe of this animal. “Wolverines live in the most remote places that you can find on the planet,” he says. “In the heart of the Rocky Mountains in some of the most rugged terrain imaginable, wolverines seem to be able to move through that country and make a living at it.”
Featuring stunning images and sounds captured in a beautiful and remote wilderness landscape, Wolverine: Ghost of the Northern Forest offers viewers an unforgettable glimpse into the life of one of nature’s most compelling animals.
See the rest of the article at: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/wolverine-ghost-of-the-northern-forest
Catch the world premiere of Wolverine: Ghost of the Northern Forest, by Emmy award-winning, wildlife filmmaker, Andrew Manske on:
Wednesday, February 24 (9:15 pm)
Wolverine: Ghost of the Northern Forest
Metro Cinema at the Garneau
Thursday, February 25 (8 pm)
The Nature of Things, CBC Television