Newfoundland Pine Martens are adorable, furry, and about the size of a house-cat, but donâ€™t mistake them for your familyâ€™s feline – they probably donâ€™t want to be cuddled! They are members of the Mustelidae family, which includes weasels, badgers and even wolverines. Martens are known for being curious and are easily excitable creatures. They also have lightning fast reflexes and lots of energy.
DID YOU KNOWâ€¦ during the spring and summer months, Newfoundland Pine Martens are active for 16 hours a day? That certainly makes most house pets look pretty lazy for sleeping all the time!
Pine Martens have thick fur, which is vital for surviving the cold winters of the Taiga forests that they call home. Unfortunately, this beautiful fur also makes them a big target for poachers. In the past, their fur was a very popular material for use in coats and clothing, which caused their population numbers to drop.
Since 1934, Canada has had a ban on marten trapping. However, since poachers are still allowed to set traps for other fur-bearing animals, many martens get caught in these traps and are killed accidentally. In 1986 they were listed as threatened because there were about 800 Newfoundland Pine Martens left. Today there are only 300-600 remaining in the wild.
Although Pine Martens can be found across Canada, this type of marten is only found on the island of Newfoundland. The Grassy Place in Newfoundland and Labrador, located off Robinsons River Valley, is an excellent example of the Pine Martenâ€™s habitat. It is an area filled with untouched forests of Spruce and Fir trees and at least two adults have been confirmed living there. It is also home to other animals like the La Poile Woodland Caribou herd.
Apart from trapping, the biggest threat to the Newfoundland Pine Marten population is habitat loss. Large-scale logging projects cut down 1000s of hectares of forests each year, making the land unsuitable for these martens.
Newfoundland Pine Martens need your help! Here is what you can do:
- Start a Bring Back the Wild campaign for the Newfoundland Pine Marten. The money you raise will help them in three ways:
- Fund expeditions in the Grassy Place to study and learn about this habitat, take an inventory of populations and develop a plan to protect species at risk.
- Restrict access to this area so trappers donâ€™t accidentally capture martens in their rabbit traps.
- Educate kids like you about habitats that are in trouble and how they can help protect them.
- The fur trade is a big threat to many animals and you can help by choosing not to wear fur. Check out Wild Cats in the Fur Trade to find out more.