The wolverine, or glutton as he is generally called, is one of the animals whose history comes down to us blended with the superstitions of the old writers. Errors when once received and published, especially if they possess the charm of great singularity or are connected with tales of wonder, become fastened on the mind by early reading and the impressions formed in youth… The wolverine, confined almost exclusively to Polar regions, where men have enjoyed few advantages of education and hence have imbibed without much reflection the errors, extravagances and inventions of hunters and trappers, has been represented as an animal possessing extraordinary strength, agility, and cunning, and as being proverbially one of the greatest gormandizers among the brutes.
John James Audubon, The Viviparous Quadrapeds of North America, 1846
The wolverine (Gulo gulo) earned its place in folklore long before north-country trappers and a few over-zealous naturalists began to spin tales of a beast of great ferocity, cunning, and extraordinary strength. Indian mythology describes the wolverine as a trickster-hero, and a link to the spirit world. Still, even today the wolverine remains largely a mystery.
The Wolverine Foundation, Inc. (TWF) is a non-profit organization comprised of wildlife scientists with a common interest in the wolverine.
TWF is operated by a small administrative staff, and managed under the guidance of a world-wide directorship comprised of wildlife scientists. We operate solely on the voluntary efforts of our directors and staff, and with the help of private and public donations.
Through this effort we hope to offer a reservoir of information to the interested public as well as the science professional. On this website you will find the most up-to-date bibliography available on wolverine literature; a comprehensive summary of wolverine life history; reviews of wolverine research provided by our world-wide research associates; and management updates outlining current issues. We have added a wolverine life history account written with the youngster in mind on our Kid’s Page and a Gift Shop for the many folks that have emailed and phoned requesting wolverine related products.
Why We Are Here
Wildlife management and research are often driven by economics. Species receive attention when populations are reduced near the point of extinction, or if their numbers are adequate for exploitation. While wolverine populations appear able to support limited harvest, the status of the wolverine throughout its range is largely unknown. It is trapped and hunted for sport, and for its fur, throughout western Canada, in the U.S. states of Alaska and Montana, and is controlled as a predator of domestic livestock in Scandinavia. The level of human exploitation and habitat encroachment is not consistent with our limited understanding of wolverine population status, distribution, and life history requirements.
Support the Source
Our understanding of the wolverine – and any species of wildlife for that matter – is based largely on wildlife research. Researchers must follow a rigorous protocol to insure that data are collected in a systematic fashion and results are valid and repeatable.
Results are generally published in scientific journals that are utilized primarily within the scientific community, and in many cases difficult for the general public to interpret. Wildlife advocates and conservation organizations provide an important link between research and the public interest, functioning as a sort of “middle-man” bringing complex science-based issues to the public’s attention.
This link between science and the public interest is very important as public interest often motivates agency management. Unfortunately, during this process the science can become sensationalized or misrepresented. Maintaining the integrity of the science throughout this process is vital.
The Wolverine Foundation provides a different sort of link between science and the public. We offer the public an opportunity to be involved – to contribute directly to the data gathering process. We offer your donations in the form of research grants to projects and scientists that we insure will advance wolverine science.
We hope to accomplish several things…
For the interested public we wish to introduce the wolverine in a science-based context. Our image of the wolverine has for too long been based on sensationalism and misinformation. For the interested science professional we hope to offer a reservoir of information and a source of research funding. Most importantly, our objective is to promote awareness and direct our resources for the benefit of this fascinating and mysterious creature.