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On behalf of the world's wild species

Tag Archives: gulo gulo

Using Citizen Science To Conserve The Wolverine

You should know now that wolverines will be featured often on this blog. The animal wolverine, not the one with the metal blades in his hands.

These almost-mythical, cantankerous denizens of the deep boreal forest are my favorite carnivore. My Wild Carnivore website has been sending a percentage of proceeds from the sale of my wolverine t shirt to The Wolverine Foundation since I started the site. I have books, videos and scientific papers on wolverines. If you’re reading this blog, get ready for wolverines.

The Alberta Conservation Association is working on a field research project using non-scientists to gather data:

Project goals: to engage non-scientists in conservation actions through participating in the collection of information on a data-deficient species; to protect key wilderness areas in the face of expanding human pressures and a changing climate; to increase the public’s understanding of the importance of intact wilderness to the Canadian identity

The wolverine is an icon of Canadian wilderness. They are most commonly associated with areas where human disturbance is low, but we know relatively little about why this is or what future development and climate change might mean to this species. They will battle a grizzly bear for food, but will they be able to take on industrial development or changing snow conditions? Volunteers and citizen science can help us find out. For this project, volunteers from the Alberta Trappers’ Association will participate in a unique initiative by collecting information on where wolverines live, the type of habitat that is important, and the obstacles they face in an uncertain future. Trappers, who wish to protect wilderness for future generations, will identify wolverine tracks and monitor remote camera stations. The non-invasive (live) collection of hair samples from hair snag stations will provide DNA. Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) biologists will use these pieces of information to assess habitat occupancy and population size. Habitat change modelling predictions and location information from collared wolverines will be incorporated into our online communication to show the size of area and habitat features that need to be protected for wolverine populations to remain healthy. This will be part of an education campaign to engage the public in protecting key wilderness areas. ACA will ensure that volunteer-produced information is collected consistently and accurately. This will enable us to combine the best on-the-ground knowledge with scientific data to produce results that will be accepted and understood by a wide audience.

The latest Project Update reveals how they managed to capture DNA samples by clipping some hair from a male wolverine. Not the usual method, but it appears to be effective! Check their rare photographs of a wild wolverine.


Eco Tuesday: The Wolverine Foundation

The largest member of the vast Weasel (Mustelidae) Family is the Wolverine (Gulo gulo). They are found in remote reaches of the boreal forests and subarctic and alpine tundra of the Northern hemisphere, with the greatest numbers in Alaska, Canada, the Nordic countries of Europe and western Russia. Their populations have experienced a steady decline since the 19th century.

Wolverine Gulo gulo

Wolverine (Gulo gulo) from Wikipedia Commons

While their populations appear able to support limited harvest, the status of the wolverine throughout its range is largely unknown. They are trapped and hunted for sport, and for their fur, throughout western Canada, Alaska and Montana, and are controlled as a predator of domestic livestock in Scandinavia.

The Wolverine Foundation, Inc. (TWF) is a non-profit organization comprised of wildlife scientists with a common interest in the wolverine. They have joined together not because they feel the wolverine is in danger of extinction, but because it is in need of attention.

Their objective is to promote awareness and direct resources for the benefit of this fascinating and mysterious creature.

Through their website, they offer information to the interested public as well as the science professional. Their website contains the most up-to-date bibliography available on wolverine literature; a comprehensive summary of wolverine life history; reviews of wolverine research; and management updates outlining current issues.

TWF is operated by a small administrative staff, and managed under the guidance of a world-wide directorship comprised of wildlife scientists. They operate solely on the voluntary efforts of  directors and staff, and with the help of private and public donations.

Through the sales of our wolverine t shirt, The Wild Carnivore annually sends funding to The Wolverine Foundation. Visit their website to see how you can help all of us learn more about the enigmatic wolverine, and make a tax-deductible donation today.