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Monday, June 22, 2009

Wolverine arrives in Colorado, first in 90 years


According to an article written by Katherine Harmon at the the website:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=wolverine-arrives-in-colorado-first-2009-06-19,

"a lone male wolverine arrived in northern Colorado earlier this month, making him the first confirmed wolverine in the state since 1919.

In December, conservation biologists had outfitted the young wolverine, which is part of a reintroduction program farther north, with a tracking collar and watched him make the 500-mile (805-kilometer) journey from the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, crossing rugged landscapes and even busy Interstate-80, reports the Denver Post."

"Proponents of reintroduction efforts, however, maintain that these large members of the weasel family are mostly scavengers and don't pose much of a threat to livestock—despite their Latin name, Gulo gulo, which means "glutton."

" A popular target of early fur trappers in the American West, wolverines had pretty much vanished from the lower 48 states 80 years ago. Today, according to Inman's estimates, there are about 250 roaming the country. In more recent times, there have been several unconfirmed sightings in Colorado, according to a 2004 article from The Rocky Mountain News."

It is nice to see that the wolverine has returned to Colorado. I have always had a fascination with this amazing animal, especially since I watched an hour show about Wolverines on the Marty Stouffer show "Wild America". In that television show Marty was able to show viewers amazing video of Wolverines never seen before (including a conflict between a mother wolverine and her cub and a badger.The badger was able to survive this conflict because it was able to back into a tree stump, and the two wolverines could not do anything against it because the Badger's skin is so loose that the wolverines could not grab onto it. Apparently Wolverines and Badgers are mortal enemies.) Sadly, I see that Marty Stouffer's methods were subject to severe criticism and censure, and in fact he was forced to pay a large amount of money to the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, back in 1996 because he illegally gouged a trail through protected land belonging to the Center. *sigh* see:http://outside.away.com/magazine/0696/9606diwi.html I guess we all can come to our own conclusions about Marty Stouffer based upon this news article.



Returning to the news article about the reintroduction of Wolverines into Colorado, made me want to see what the present population of Wolverines was in Canada. According to my research online:

"Within its range, the wolverine occupies many different kinds of habitats. Wolverines generally prefer remote areas, far away from humans and their developments. However, the specific characteristics of the wilderness that the wolverine depends upon are not yet known. Labrador and Quebec, for example, have not been recolonized by wolverines, despite the abundance of caribou and undisturbed habitat. This lack of knowledge about wolverine habitat makes it difficult for wildlife managers to manage the species and protect its habitat."

" One specific type of habitat wolverines need is the den used by the female to give birth and raise her kits. Finding such a den is difficult. Most dens that have been found are in tundra regions and consist of a complex of snow tunnels associated with boulders or rocks. The configuration of the rocks results in natural cavities under the snow, which form dens for the wolverines."

" The home range of an adult wolverine extends from less than 100 km2 for females to over 1 000 km2 for males. These home ranges are the largest reported for a carnivore of this size, and in many areas they rival the home ranges of bears, wolves, and cougars. The size of the home range varies depending on the availability of food and how it is distributed across the landscape — the more food there is, the smaller the home range needs to be."

"The density of wolverines ranges from one individual per 40 km2 to one per 800 km2. Those regions that have the most different kinds of habitat and prey, particularly those that include large ungulates, or animals with hooves, contain the most wolverines. The mountainous and forested areas of British Columbia and Yukon have the highest densities, although these numbers are still low compared with the densities of other carnivores. Densities of wolverines in Manitoba and Ontario are lower. The rarity of wolverines becomes readily apparent when their density is compared with the density of other solitary carnivores: one coyote per 0.5 to 10 km2 and one grizzly bear per 1.5 to 260 km2."

"The wolverine is found throughout all northern regions of the globe. Wolverines are not abundant anywhere, even where they do well. The species is known for a large home range and low density, which is a measure of its numbers. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada considers wolverines found west of Hudson Bay to be of “special concern” and the eastern population, found in Quebec and Labrador, to be “endangered.”

"Historically, before the appearance of Europeans in North America, wolverines occurred throughout Canada and Alaska, with some small extensions of this range into the western United States and into the Great Lakes area. They occupied a wide variety of habitat types, excepting very dry, hot areas."

"A portion of the wolverine’s historical range has been lost. Wolverines have also disappeared from areas with relatively intact habitats. Eastern Canada and the western United States have been particularly hard hit. Wolverines disappeared most rapidly at the edges of their distribution and in Eastern Canada. We do not know if any wolverines still occur in Eastern Canada, although Labrador and Quebec are still considered part of the current distribution. Similarly, whether wolverines still occur on Vancouver Island is unknown."

"There are two main reasons why wolverine populations disappeared from parts of North America. The first is that wolverines are scavengers—which means they feed on carrion, or dead animals—and are attracted to bait. Because the wolverines damaged traplines, early trappers used any means to kill them, including poison. The extensive wolf poisoning programs that occurred throughout Canada beginning in the late 1700s also killed many wolverines."

"The second, and more important, reason for the decline of wolverine populations is that wolverines have a low resiliency because of their low densities and low reproduction, or the number of young that are successfully produced and raised. This means that wolverine populations have a difficult time rebounding once their numbers have been lowered by either nature or human-influenced factors."

source:http://www.hww.ca/hww2.asp?id=108

According to the website:http://www.currentresults.com/Wildlife/Endangered-Species/Endangered-Mammals/wolverine-709211.php

"On mainland BC, wolverines are estimated to number 3,520. They comprise part of the western Canada population that spans boreal and arctic regions. Western Canadian wolverines in 2003 probably totalled 15,000 to 19,000 animals. Their populations, however, have lately fallen in Alberta, Ontario and southern BC."

"The same factors that have removed wolverines from much of their range - overharvesting and human encroachment into their habitat - continue to plague them. Wolverines suffer from unsustainable hunting and trapping in 21% of BC's population units. A 2005 study in western Montana found that licensed trapping largely contributed to wolverine population declines of 30% a year in four mountain ranges."

"Research in BC's Columbia Mountains concludes that outdoor recreation and logging activities cause wolverines to avoid habitat. In this popular winter recreation region, wolverines stay away from areas used by heli-skiers or backcountry skiers. In summer, females also shun roads and recent logging."


According to the website: http://www.naturecanada.ca/endangered_know_our_species_wolverine.asp

" Wolverines have a lifespan of 17 years. Their size varies between the male and the female: Adult males weigh approximately 14 kg; females, 9 kg. The Adult male is
approximately 1 m long, the female is shorter in length.

"Wolverines are known for traveling long distances. Their range extends from less than 100-sq. km for females to more than 1000-square-kilometres for males. These are the largest reported home ranges for a carnivore."

"When food is scarce, a high percentage of the population will not have young. Females have a delayed implantation mechanism that allows them to have young when food is most abundant and to adjust the size of the litter to the availability of food."

"Wolverines are non-migratory and do not hibernate during the winter. They’re active day and night and alternate three to four hour periods between activity and sleep."

Based upon my reading online it is wonderful that several provinces in Canada have decided to engage in studies of the wolverine (for example in Ontario see this website:
http://www.wcscanada.org/wcsc-home/wcsc-main/wcsc_whatwedo/wcsc_nothernboreal/wcsc_wolverine ),

in Alberta:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/natcul/natcul15_e.asp

and in British Columbia:

see :http://www.conservationnw.org/pressroom/press-clips/methow-wolverine-project-expands-is-model-for-canadian-west-side-studies


I hope that concerning scientists can find out more about wolverines so they can be conserved in the wild. Hopefully,these scientists will remember their ethics and values in conducting their research, and be most interested in the Wolverine and its survival on our planet! Thanks to NPS Photo for allowing me to use their photo of the Wolverine for this blog entry. If you need a photo for your blog or for other reasons go and visit http://www.weforanimals.com/
source of photo:http://www.weforanimals.com/free-pictures/wild-animals/wolverines/1/wolverine-2.htm

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.