Happy Wolverine Birthday! According to the Wolverine Foundation, February 14th is the day designated to symbolically mark the birth of wolverine kits. They come into the world under five inches long, weighing 3.5-5.11 ounces, and covered in white fur. They sometimes hang with one or the other parent for up to two years before going their own scrappy way.
Just a few days ago, on Feb. 9th, Gulo gulo’s lawyers were in a Missoula, Montana courtroom where a U.S. District judge heard arguments pertaining to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s denial of Endangered Species Act protection for wolverines–specifically examining whether the decision was reasonable…or arbitrary (article). Did FWS use the best available science? If climate change eats away at high elevation snowfields, will wolverines–who are obligate snow denners–be able to survive? What about their low population numbers (300 or fewer in the lower 48, mostly in Montana) with breeding-age females estimated at only 36 individuals? Read an extensive summary of the arguments in “Science goes to court” at the Wolverine Blog (includes proposed listing rule, leaked memo, and more).
Badass Wolverine Challenge
But now for that challenge. If any animal has a reputation for being a badass, it’s the skunk bear! These bodacious brawlers will take on bears, wolves, wolf packs…and come out on top. Writes wildlife biologist Doug Chadwick,
“If wolverines have a strategy, it’s this: Go hard, and high, and steep, and never back down, not even from the biggest grizzly, and least of all from a mountain. Climb everything: trees, cliffs, avalanche chutes, summits. Eat everyone: alive, dead, long-dead, moose, mouse, fox, frog, it’s still warm heart or frozen bones.” ~”The Wolverine Way“
If you harbor an inner wolverine (and who doesn’t?!?), it’s time to channel that baby and help wolverines (via the Wolverine Foundation) in the process. The Badass Wolverine Challenge is a virtual race conducted online–though you and I put in actual, on-the-ground miles. This challenge gets us outdoors at the end of winter–when mom wolverines are tending to motherhood duties but the guys are out tearin’ it up and covering vast miles, as per usual. Because wolverines would never wimp out and exercise on a treadmill when the weather is lousy, we won’t, either–we’ll walk, run, cross country ski, and/or snowshoe our way to badassedness in one of three categories. Details and how to sign up are here. Wolverines would probably never be so sociable as to use social media, but you can, by checking out the Badass Wolverine Challenge Facebook page. The challenge starts Sunday, Feb. 21st, so if your inner wolverine is clawing to get out, get your tail in gear!
- Wolverine Blog: Gulo Facts
- The Wolverine Foundation
- “Wolverine case being heard in Missoula court asks if FWS made rational decision,” Missoulian
- “The wolverine: one gnarly dude…who needs our help,” a previous Other Nations post with several links to beautiful and astounding videos.