Just a reminder for Colorado folks – Jason Wilmot of the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wolverine Project will be giving four talks this week.
January 26th, 6-8pm
New Battle Mountain High School
January 27th, 6-8pm
American Mountaineering Center
January 28th, 7-9pm
The Denver Zoo
January 29th, 6-8pm
Also in wolverine news, a short film of wolverines in the Stockholm Zoo offers another glimpse of wolverines for those who think they might have seen one and are looking for material on ID-ing the species, and/or people who just like an excuse to watch wolverines. This film was apparently picked up by the AP, and I find the caption particularly entertaining: “Officials at the Stockholm zoo put extra snow into the wolverine enclosure after they discovered last year that the animals enjoyed digging tunnels, hiding food and playing.” No offense to the Stockholm Zoo, but did they really not realize prior to this that wolverines like snow? If not, I’m glad they figured it out, because the wolverines look like they’re enjoying themselves – especially the one in the beginning of the film, who seems to be contemplating starting a snowball fight.
About halfway through the film, look for a shot of a wolverine rubbing its belly across the snow – perhaps scent-marking the spot. Wolverines have a pale line of fur stretching down their lower abdomens; I’ve asked about this during collaring operations and no one is clear on exactly why that bit of fur is lighter. In this video, it looks like the wolverine is rubbing that precise spot across the snow, so maybe it has something to do with the chemicals used in scent-marking. We also get a few shots of wolverines digging, so you can see what a wolverine-excavated hole might look like, and, of course, the obligatory glimpse of a gulo hauling a gigantic piece of raw meat.
Another media piece that might prove interesting to gulo fans appeared in the New York Times this weekend. Wolverines are not mentioned, but a suite of other climate-sensitive species are. The article suggests that the effects of climate change on biodiversity are already observable in countries around the world, and are likely to get worse in coming years. It’s a depressing reminder that wolverines are in multitudinous company – up to 30% of the world’s species might be lost as the climate shifts. I dislike hopeless-narratives-of-environmental-apocalypse, but sometimes it feels like there’s no other way to tell it.