It’s been a busy week in wolverine news!
Wolverine spotted in Utah for the first time in 35 years
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced the sighting last Wednesday. UDWR biologist Adam Brewerton had set up a camera trap (that same technique used to catch those pics of the adorable Pallas’s cat) baited with a roadkill deer. When he collected the camera he found images of a curious wolverine snuffling around the (by that time empty) trap.
Should wolverines be listed as a threatened species?
- Wolverines build their dens in deep snow to protect their young.
- Climate change tends to melt snow.
- Wolverines have a small but stable population now (~300 individuals) but in the future they will be in trouble.
But now a regional FWS director, biologist Noreen Walsh, has raised questions about the proposal. She says there’s not enough scientific evidence to accurately predict climate change’s effect on wolverines. She even mentioned the Utah sighting as anecdotal evidence that wolverines are expanding further into their historic range. Critics say she was swayed by political pressure from state agencies. A final ruling from the FWS will be made by August 4th, so I’ll keep you posted.