Wildlife officials and trappers report that the wolverine population in the North is thriving, despite concerns about the species in the southern regions.
In a significant development, the North American wolverine has now been designated as “threatened” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. In the lower 48 states, large areas of land and frigid, snowy winters are becoming less common, according to the designation. According to reports from the North, trappers and researchers have confirmed that wolverines continue to thrive, with abundant resources and stable populations.
The president of the Yukon Trappers Association, Brian Melanson, reports that wolverine harvests across the territory have remained steady for over four decades. Melanson explains that a decrease in harvest would be evident if the population was in poor health. “This could potentially serve as a significant indication of the species being under threat.”
In a recent statement, Brian Melanson, the president of the Yukon Trappers Association, revealed that wolverine harvests in the territory have maintained a consistent level for more than 40 years.
In an interview, Melanson highlights the potential impact of a decline in harvest, emphasizing that it could be a clear indicator of a population’s deteriorating health. “This development may be a noteworthy sign that the species is facing a potential threat.”
“Wolverines pose a significant challenge for monitoring in the boreal forest of the Yukon,” stated Tom Jung, a senior wildlife biologist employed by the Yukon government. “Due to this, the available data on them is not as comprehensive as that for other species such as caribou or moose.”
In a recent study, Jung has highlighted the importance of examining carcasses to understand various trends, their correlation with shifting landscapes and weather patterns, and the overall well-being of the ecosystem. According to his statement, it appears that wolverines in the Yukon are thriving based on various indicators.
“We have been investigating various aspects of the parasites, potential diseases they might carry, their winter fat reserves, and even their dental health,” Jung reported.
“The condition of wolverines’ teeth serves as a reliable indicator of their well-being. Given their rugged and adventurous lifestyle, the upkeep of their teeth plays a crucial role in preserving their overall health.”
According to Jung, wolverine populations appear to be thriving in the Canadian north and Alaska. Richard Mercredi, a trapper and elder hailing from Fort Smith, N.W.T., dedicates a significant portion of his year to residing in his cabin, located approximately 60 kilometres away from the community. “There seems to be a significant presence of wolverines in this area,” reports Mercredi.
A trapper in Yellowknife has reported catching a significant number of them in the area. There is also a significant presence of wildlife in the barrenlands. When the caribou migrate, the wolverines take advantage of the remains left behind by wolves, hunters, and other predators. The N.W.T. government has stated that the wolverine is not considered to be a species at risk within the territory.
The wolverine has been deemed a species of special concern in Canada by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). This classification is primarily due to the challenges posed by fragmented habitat and harvest pressures in the southern provinces.