The Wolverine Foundation has proudly supported the Wolverine-Winter Recreation Project, which looked at the effects of motorized and non-motorized backcountry recreation on wolverines. We’re excited to share the final report with you, the people who helped make this work possible. You can read the report here.
On May 4th and 5th, you can support the Wolverine Foundation by participating in Give Big Gallatin Valley. During the event, the Bozeman Area Community Foundation will partially match all donations made to the Wolverine Foundation, increasing the impact of your support for our work. You can view our profile page for the event here.
The Bozeman Area Community Foundation exists to help non-profits that bring benefits to Gallatin County, Montana. TWF is a global organization, but Montana is the heart of wolverine country in the Lower 48, and that includes the many mountain ranges that surround Bozeman. We believe that wildlife brings diverse benefits to the people who are fortunate enough to share the landscape with it, and we hope that Montanans – and other wildlife enthusiasts worldwide – will help us celebrate this.
Thank you for your support!
This Friday, March 31st, TWF executive director Rebecca Watters be giving a talk for the Friends of the Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge in Colville, Washington. The talk will focus on wolverines and wolverine research in the US – it’s a talk for a scientifically-literate lay audience, complete with some hand-drawn illustrations, and photos and video from cameras in Montana..
The talk will be held at the Colville Community College theater, 986 S. Elm St. Doors open at 6:00 and admission is free. You’ll also have a chance to win wolverine-related door prizes, which is unique in my experience of giving talks. Details are here. If you happen to be in the area, we hope to see you there. Bring your sense of curiosity and some good questions.
Today, Judge Dana Christensen overturned the 2014 USFWS decision not to list wolverines, ruling that decision “arbitrary and capricious,” and ordering the USFWS to issue a new decision. The judge’s ruling states that the USFWS failed to adequately consider the effects of both climate change and genetic isolation on the wolverine population in the US Rockies, and that the Service discounted the best available science in reaching the decision not to list.
What does this mean for the status of wolverines in the US? The listing decision has been sent back to the USFWS, and they must issue a new decision. The timeline for this is not yet clear.
The full text of the decision is available here: 16-04-04 Doc. 108 ORDER
For those who are interested in the wolverine policy process and the debate about the science, it’s worth reading through the entire document. Check it out, and enjoy.
The 2015 report for the Wolverine-Winter Recreation Project is now available. The multi-year study is investigating the impact of recreation on wolverine reproduction in several locations in Idaho. 2015 represented the final field season for the project, which will now focus on data analysis. You can read the report here: Idaho Wolverine-Winter Recreation Project 2015 Progress Report Final 30Dec15
In the high and remote world of the wolverine, winter is long and cold with an abundance of light, fluffy snow. Well-adapted for these harsh environments, with its large ‘snowshoe’ feet, thick fur, and endless endurance, this winter mountaineer is constantly moving, searching for food and patrolling its enormous home range. Historically, the wolverine was left to itself to winter in these extreme mountain habitats as most species moved to lower elevations to escape the severe season. This has changed, however, as the popularity of backcountry winter recreation has exploded, with both snowmobilers and skiers seeking remote, pristine slopes with powder snow. The previously quiet landscapes that wolverines prefer are now the play areas for many backcountry recreationists.
This winter the Wolverine-Winter Recreation Project completed 6 intensive years tracking wolverines and winter recreationists to understand how wolverines are responding to this relatively novel intrusion into their lonely regions. The research team has successfully collected impressive amounts of fine-scale movement and habitat use data on both wolverines and winter recreationists – simultaneously as both use such areas. With the field collections now complete, the team must turn its attention to the more arduous phase of data analyses to determine subtle but important responses of wolverines to the possible disturbances created by recreationists. The team now also faces another significant challenge: with the adventurous field work completed, the availability of funds needed to finish this very important work has largely dried up. This is a common dilemma faced by wildlife researchers: funding is available to collect data but not to do the critical analyses that actually transform field collected data sets into robust results to truly advance our understanding of the issues.
Please consider supporting the Wolverine-Winter Recreation Project with a donation to The Wolverine Foundation. All dollars received will go directly to supporting the necessary analyses and outreach required to ensure the results of this study are incorporated into decision-making affecting wolverines and wolverine habitats.
Use a credit or debit card now through the secure link below (no PayPal account required):
1.) After entering your donation amount, please click the “Update Total” link directly below your amount before proceeding.
2.) On the review page, prior to completing your donation, expand the “Donation Purpose” link. This will open a box for listing item name, color choices & quantities if your donation includes donation purchases.
If you prefer, please mail your contribution to:
The Wolverine Foundation, Inc.
4444 Packsaddle Road
Tetonia, Idaho, USA 83452
In August of 2006, volunteering with the Absaroka-Beartooth Wolverine Project, I backpacked into a remote mountain valley where a collared wolverine had been spending time. That night, a wolverine came into our camp and spent 15 minutes circling us, his curiosity about us as evident as ours about him. Everything about the situation, from the rare opportunity to see a wolverine in the wild, to the animal’s engaging personality, to the peaks and snowfields and alpine meadows of his territory, was irresistible. I became an instant wolverine fan. Three years later, I launched the Wolverine Blog and the first survey of wolverines in Mongolia, endeavors that continue to the present. From the beginning of my work on wolverines, the Wolverine Foundation provided a tremendous resource in terms of information, scientific mentorship, and community. Nearly a decade after that first wolverine encounter, I am excited and honored to be taking over as executive director of the world’s most important organization for wolverine research.
Wolverines are enthralling in their own right — tough, resilient, mysterious, and inspiring, they inhabit fierce landscapes that exemplify wilderness. But they also embody one of the most critical questions of a new era of wildlife science and conservation: how do we prioritize and protect species and ecosystems that are vulnerable to climate change? The Wolverine Foundation has an important role to play in this discussion, as the world’s sole organization dedicated to advancing wolverine research. TWF will continue to convene wolverine scientists, identify important areas for research, communicate scientific results to the public, and serve as a nexus for scientists and the wolverine-interested public. I look forward to building TWF’s capacity to explore critical questions about wolverine ecology by increasing our existing small grants program, and launching a project-based fundraising system in conjunction with interested researchers. TWF’s scientific integrity makes it the perfect source for education efforts about wolverine ecology, and I will increase the level of outreach and education activities in communities around the world, from Mongolia to the US Rockies. TWF is also ideally situated to provide mentorship to the next generation of wolverine researchers around the globe – and the dozens of students, American, European, and Mongolian, who contact me with an interest in wolverine work testifies to the need for such engagement. And of course, I will continue to write about wolverine research, both my own and other scientists’, as the Wolverine Blog is integrated with TWF. These are just the first steps in the next era of advancing wolverine science.
2016 will mark the Wolverine Foundation’s 20th anniversary. In the two decades since the organization’s inception, the wolverine has gone from an obscure and poorly understood species, to an animal in the conservation spotlight. TWF and its supporters have been a vital force in facilitating research and communication about the species. With your support, TWF has created an international community of scientists and constituents around this amazing species as it has gained greater prominence over the past 20 years. As we look towards a future where wolverines are greater objects of study and of debate, TWF is more important than ever. Your continued participation in this community is essential to our success. Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm for the species and its tireless, dedicated researchers, and I look forward to continuing to work with you and TWF’s directors and advisors as we advance wolverine science and conservation in the years to come.
With warm wishes for a happy holiday season,
Idaho Gives is a one-day, statewide online fundraising event designed to connect donors across the state with the organizations they care about most.
January 2015 Newsletter. Learn More
Cumulative 2012-2014 Report. Learn More