Meet the wolverine, the largest land-dwelling member of the weasel family. The wolverine looks like a cross between a bear and a skunk and is about the same size as a medium-sized dog…but you wouldn’t want one for a pet. Wolverines have a fierce reputation – with strong teeth, extremely sharp claws and a good sense of smell, they are excellent hunters. Wolverines are able to find prey even when it’s buried deep in the snow, and they aren’t picky eaters – they will even eat carrion. If they have too much food, they store it in the snow for later!
It’s a Lonely Life
Solitary wolverines live on some of the most rugged terrain on earth, from northern boreal forests all the way up to the Arctic Circle. They like to have a LOT of territory to call their own. If another wolverine enters their territory (which can exceed 500km2) they will defend it fiercely. In fact, the only time wolverines meet up is to mate. A female will give birth to her kits in February or March, and they will stay with their mom for up to two years. Wolverines don’t have very big litters, with 2-3 babies being average. We need to help these tough (but lovable) creatures thrive.
Wanted: Space to Roam!
Since wolverines are solitary creatures and require SO much territory of their own, it’s important that they have a lot of land to use. Wolverines are sensitive to people entering their territory and they will even abandon their dens if they sense humans are close by. Earth Rangers is teaming up with University of Calgary researcher Mirjam Barrueto to learn more about the habitat needs of wolverines in western Canada. By using motion sensor cameras and hair traps, she’ll collect information about wolverine populations, habitat quality, and how human activities are impacting wolverines. This information will be used to help manage how land is used so we can make sure they have the habitat they need for years to come!
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