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Wolverine

On a global scale, the Wolverine is considered to be "vulnerable", but its status on a regional scale varies. In eastern Canada, Wolverines are now considered to be endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), whereas those in western and northern regions of the country are classified as vulnerable. In Alberta, the Wolverine is included on the provincial Blue List of species that may be at risk.

The Wolverine is the largest terrestrial member of the mustelid family. Other members of the musteline family are predatory mamals like the badger, mink, ferret, and weasel. Its pelage, or coat, is dark brown, usually with two tan stripes running along the flanks and joining over the rump. The fur consists of dense under-fur from which long straight guard hairs protrude. The length and structure of these guard hairs make them exceptional at keeping their fur frost-free. This characteristic, as well as the beauty and rarity of Wolverine fur, makes it very valuable to arctic and subarctic peoples for parka trims.

The Wolverine is both a scavenger and a predator, depending on the time of year. During the summer months, Wolverines are primarily predatory, with the most common prey being marmots, ground squirrels, mice, voles, birds and insects. Eggs and berries also may be included in the summer diet. During the winter, Wolverines are primarily scavengers and rely heavily on large mamals with hooves killed by other predators or that have died of disease or starvation. However, live American Porcupines, mice and voles may supplement their winter diet, and Wolverines have been known to kill Caribou and Moose if snow conditions are favourable or if the prey is weakened. The importance of a large population of ungulates (mamals with hooves)) seems to be critical to the survival of Wolverines during the winter.

Wolverines are solitary animals except during the breeding season and while the female still has kits. Females usually dig a den under the snow down to ground level for the kits, or they may use blown down trees or rock crevices that have been covered in snow. Wolverines may be sensitive to human disturbances at this time, as females have been known to move their young to less secure dens to avoid human contact.

Wolverine

Wolverine