Wolverines in the Wild

Wolverines are shy animals that live in faraway areas, often at high elevations. Scientists are worried that some wolverines don't have enough natural spaces to live in any more. It will be helpful to study wolverine populations, but they can be difficult to find and observe. So, scientists have used “camera traps,” which release scents that attract wolverines. When the camera detects the motion of a wolverine, it immediately takes a photo of it. The scents in these camera traps needs to be replaced every few weeks, but that can be difficult since they're usually set up in cold or remote areas.

To make studying wolverines easier, engineers have been working on a new way to photograph them. They created a device that releases three milliliters of liquid each day through a pump. Just like with traditional camera traps, the smell of the liquid lures the wolverines nearby so the camera can take a photo. Unlike the camera traps, this system only needs to be refilled twice a year.

Before releasing their new camera trap, the designers tested it to make sure it was bear-proof and that it would release the liquid in extremely cold temperatures. After rounds of experimenting, they redesigned their product until it passed every test. The camera in the new design can take over 40,000 images of wolverines in the wild before it needs new scented liquid! This design has proven itself to be an efficient and easy way for researchers to learn more about wolverines in the wild. 

Click the image below to see what scientists have learned using camera traps like these.

 What would YOU design to study interesting animals? Show us your ideas in the design section

 

(Image Credit: Microsoft)

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