Wolverine research to be highlighted

Dec 12, 2011

The Wildlife Conservation Society is releasing reports from its research about wolverines in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The first article will run in the Journal of Wildlife Management this spring, and the reports are meant to guide management practices for the species.

Wildlife Conservation Society wolverine researcher Bob Inman says little was known about wolverines before this research, but the animals are pretty cool.

“They’re a thousand pounds of attitude stuffed into a 30 pound body. This is an animal that can run from one side of a mountain range to another overnight. They’re born in avalanche chutes at 9,000 feet. They take on animals 10 times their size… They’re just a fascinating animal that thrives in places where times are tough.”

Inman says hunting and predator traps all but wiped out the U.S. wolverine population by 1930, but it’s rebounded in Wyoming and Montana.  Still, Inman says the population is vulnerable.

“They are highly tied to snow cover and snowy environments and so climate change is a threat that wolverines may be susceptible to.”

Inman says wolverines are loners and need a lot of personal, open space away from others of their species, and says states should incentivize preserving wide swaths of connected land for wolverine habitat.

He also hopes to do further research on how female wolverines are distributed, and how the overall population is changing.

A digital version of the Wildlifer Conservation Society’s article is available for purchase on the Journal of Wildlife Management website. A free abstract is available here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jwmg.289/abstract