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Wolverine Reseach

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Wolverine information from biologists in Washington State and British Columbia.



The wolverine is among the rarest of the large carnivores in North America and probably least understood. This video features the collaborative, transborder wolverine research of wildlife biologists in Washington State and and the Province of British Columbia.

DID YOU KNOW...

Diet

Wolverines eat a variety of food items. The larger animals they feed on tend to be carrion, that is, already dead when they discover them.  These larger animals include elk, caribou, deer and mountain goats. Wolverines will also eat snowshoe hare, porcupines, marmots, mice, voles, birds, fish and vegetation.

Population

Wolverines in the North Cascades of Washington State appear to be part of a larger population that reside in British Columbia and possibly Alberta. Wildlife biologists in in the U.S. collaborate with their counterparts in BC to study these populations as part of ongoing research related to transboundary species. This study area includes the North Cascades, Skagit and Similkameen watersheds.

This research involves setting live traps baited with road-killed mule deer, beaver or salmon carcasses and monitored electronically as well as visited regularly to ensure the traps are working properly.  Captured wolverines are ear-tagged and fitted with radio-collars to provide general location and movement data. Approximately 1 dozen unique wolverines have been trapped, tagged and monitored over a 4 - 5 year period.

Range

For a graphic illustration of the extensive range of rough country the wolverine travels over, visit page 13 of this report by wolverinefoundation.org. The vast, uninterupted wild space a wolverine requires speak volumes to importance of protected habitat.

Reproduction

Mating season for wolverines is late spring to summer with an average of 1 - 2 kits being born the following winter, into spring. The kits are born white in color, in dens, burrowed deep into the snow in remote alpine locations usually at or just above the treeline.

What threatens wolverines?

The threats to wolverines are ultimately all human initiated.

Climate change affects the wolverines because the available deep snow in their southern habitat regions is slowly diminishing.

Encroachment of human activity disrupts denning wolverines. Outdoor enthusiasts are accessing wild places via snowmobile and backcountry skiing excursions.

As human infrastructure expands into more remote regions, available wolverine habitat becomes more fragmented.  Connected corridors of protected lands are required to enable the wide ranging wolverine to travel between regional wolverine populations.

The recent wolverine work in BC is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, the BC Ministry of Environment and the BC Conservation Foundation.

For the latest information about wolverine research, connect with the following organizations.

 

The Wolverine Foundation Conservation NW

 

Fast Facts

Length:

82 - 130 cm

Weight:

6.5 - 16 kg

Lifespan:
7 - 12 years in the wild

Range Map

Wolverine Distribution

Current Protection Status

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada

 

US Fish & Wildlife Service

 
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