February 1, 2013

Wolverines are back in Washington

X-men heroes aside, since the 1930s Wolverines were basically extinct in the state of Washington. They've recently been making a comeback, however, and reclaiming their range in the Cascades from the Canadian Border to Mt. Rainier. At least according to the Seattle Times.

(If you're looking for Wolverine from the X-men, here you go.)

There are an estimated 25 wolverines in the state of Washington that just aren't visiting from Canada but living here for good. About 250 to 300 are estimated to live in the entire lower 48 states.

And these things are just like the superhero. No joke.

“They are the superheroes of the animal world,” said Shawn Sartorius, a wildlife biologist based in Helena, Montana, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “When you follow the tracks of these things, you see they are not taking the easy way around; they will go straight over mountain tops, craggy peaks, the rockiest, steepiest, cliffiest place; they will go right over that in the middle of winter, at night.”

They're also rather temperamental...

And wolverine are ferocious. “When you see one in a live trap you never forget it,” Rohrer said. “They are growling, trying to bluff you, they are not cowering in the corner, if you crack open the lid they are charging and coming up to the front, snapping their jaws and drooling. They put on quite a show.” 

Luckily, unlike the controversial presence of wolves, wolverines don't quite present the same kind of danger/people going crazy about their reintroduction.

But hikers have nothing to worry about: Wolverines are primarily carnivorous scavengers, feasting on a wide variety of foods, including carrion of every type, usually elk and deer. But they will also take live small mammals, including pikas, marmots, ground squirrels, porcupines and snowshoe hares. They will sometimes devour bugs, berries, eggs and roots.

(If you want to learn more about wolverines, buy this book.)

No comments:

Post a Comment