wol*ver*ine: (Latin Gulo gulo, “glutton”) The largest terrestrial member of the weasel family, the wolverine is a circumboreal species, found in Scandinavia, Siberia, Mongolia, Canada, and the United States. Wolverine are primarily scavengers, though they are capable of hunting; in Sweden they regularly kill domestic reindeer, and are reputed to be able to kill snow-stranded moose, elk, and deer. Wolverine are solitary, territorial, and highly mobile, moving at an average speed of 4 miles per hour over rugged and mountainous terrain. They are reputedly fierce and apparently voracious, emblematic of remote wilderness, and are elusive and difficult to study. They depend on persistent spring snowpack – deep, consistent snow through mid-May – in order to den and raise their kits. They may be at risk from effects of global warming.
During the Pleistocene, wolverine ranged as far south as Maryland and Pennsylvania. Today Wyoming is the southern extent of confirmed wolverine distribution in the western hemisphere; in the eastern hemisphere, the southern terminus of wolverine distribution is in Mongolia.
This blog will chronicle the attempt to learn more about wolverine at the southern edges of their global range, both in the U.S. and in Mongolia. It will also document the broader context of carnivore conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and in Mongolia – regions of extraordinary natural beauty and value, livestock-dependent human culture, and unique challenges and opportunities for innovative conservation work.
Updates will follow shortly.
Thanks for reading.