Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Canada's Rarely Seen Animal

I usually pick up a Saturday Globe and Mail newspaper, because the weekend is the only time I have a chance to sit down and read one. I like to check the Sports and Business sections and catch up on the week that passed.

Last weekend, I noticed there was an article titled 'Canada's Most Elusive Creature'. The title piqued my curiousity, so I flipped ahead and saw that it was an article on the wolverine. Working in forestry, you sometimes hear people talking about wolverine's, but you rarely meet anyone who has seen one. If they have seen one, it was usually running off the road or into the woods and they didn't get a good look at it.

The article gives a good history of the wolverine, how it's population was greatly reduced, and hope that it may be recovering.

Some of the interesting quotes in the article were:

Ecologist Jason Fisher has spent the past six years studying wolverines in the Alberta foothills. When I ask him the extent of the wolverines' current range in Canada, he hesitates: “The honest answer is, I don't think anyone really knows for sure.”

it was the widespread introduction of predator poisons across North America during the 1960s and '70s that turned the animal's greatest strength – its supreme ability to locate scraps of meat scattered about a landscape – into a ruinous liability. In a few short years, wolverines were extirpated from the Lower 48, and savagely beaten back across Canada.

The deeper truth is that wolverines are difficult to find, and even harder to observe. They are blessed with the endurance of a marathoner, the speed of sprinter and the mountain-climbing ability of a goat. Chasing a wolverine through the wilderness is like pursuing the Terminator.

“They may just be the toughest animal in the world,” Douglas H. Chadwick says in his book The Wolverine Way. “When you weigh 15 kg and can back a full grown grizzly off a kill, that is just plain badass.”

Luckily for you, the article is now posted online and you can read it all yourself.

To read the full article, click here: