2013/2014 Field Season Report for, Effects of industry on wolverine ecology in northern Alberta. Learn More
A response from our Executive Director
In May of this year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a Proposed Rule to list the wolverine as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Rule was posted in the Federal Register and offered for public comment. The Service considered climate change as the primary threat to wolverine population persistence, along with contributing factors such as incidental trapping, small population size, and disturbance from winter recreation. Wolverines are snow-dependent animals that appear to require deep snow for successful denning.
Basing the decision to list the wolverine on evidence that future climate conditions will adversely impact wolverine habitat, rather than as a response to current, measurable population threats, represents a significant paradigm shift in the listing process. But, rather than stimulating a healthy debate about listing an animal on the basis of future concerns, the western States that support current wolverine populations attacked the science, and the scientists, that authored several of the papers influential in the USFWS decision to propose listing. The opposition was led by two former wolverine researchers that were also peer-reviewers of the proposed rule. No new data was introduced to support their opposition, only opinion and speculation that served to introduce uncertainty as to the legitimacy of the scientific papers. This led to the USFWS Regional Director of the Mountain-Prairie Region ordering that the rule to list be reversed. The internal memo directing the reversal was leaked to the press, which stimulated responses from science organizations and individual scientists. The Regional Director’s order to reverse the listing decision was endorsed by the USFWS Director today.
The Wolverine Foundation has never supported or opposed listing the wolverine. We have maintained this position because we believe it is important for our organization to be a voice of objectivity rather than one of advocacy. This has allowed us to provide input on both sides of the issue to promote decisions based on science rather than opinion and speculation driven by personal interests and politics. The States, and the biologists aiding them, have chosen to employ an “end justifies the means” approach to avoiding wolverine listing. As a result, science has suffered and most certainly so will the wolverine.
Hello Wolverine Foundation Supporters!
2013 saw a lot of changes for TWF. We brought in a new Director, Dr. Wayne Melquist, and a new Administrative Manager, Cheryl Copeland, our website had a makeover with the inclusion of a newsletter, thanks to Pat Fortino and WriteNowDesign.com, and we worked on the development of a new logo, which will be appearing soon. But, most importantly we were able to provide grant support to two important research projects, thanks to your help and the support of our corporate sponsor, Wolverine World Wide.
We provided a $15,000 grant to the Central Idaho Wolverine/Recreation Project which is now in its 5th year. This project is seeking to understand the potential impact of increasing winter recreation, both snowmobiling and skiing, on wolverine populations. This is an extremely difficult concern to address empirically and will most likely require several more years of field work in order to obtain an adequate sample size.
We provided $6,100 to a new project in its first year in NW Alberta, Canada. Matt Scrafford, the principal investigator and PhD student at the University of Alberta is looking at wolverine ecology and the wolverine’s relationship with gas and oil drilling in northern Alberta. Matt will be providing a progress report in the coming weeks but I can report here that he captured a whopping 24 wolverines this past winter! This is an extremely exciting project that will help us better understand wolverine ecology in a portion of its range that has not been previously studied.
We hope to provide future support to these and additional projects in the coming years, all thanks to folks like you that have enabled us to do so for the past 18 years. In addition, we hope to have a new products line in place in the next few weeks for all of you that have asked for tee shirts, hats, and coffee mugs.
Thank you again for your support, and our best to you for the coming year.
The Wolverine Foundation Directors and Staff
A new study investigating wolverine ecology in NW Alberta, Canada has produced a series of videos documenting their first season of field work. The 6 videos document trap building, capturing, and processing wolverines. This is a rare and informative look into wolverine field research.
Wyoming Game and Fish confirmed a wolverine sighting near Evanston, Wyoming. (more)
2013 Field Season Report for the Kootenay Wolverine Project. Learn More
2014 Annual Report for the Scandinavian Wolverine Caching Behavior Project is now available. Learn More
2013 Annual Report for the North Cascades Wolverine Study is now available.Learn More
2013 Project Report for Central Idaho Wolverine Winter Recreation Research Project is now available. Learn More
August update posted for the North Cascades Wolverine Study. Learn More