I know what you are thinking. Wolverine in Yellowstone? And you thought they were just fictitious characters in Hollywood? But sorry to burst your bubble, we aren’t talking about the Wolverine from the movies but the ones that belong to the Weasel family. Elusive as they are, they have been recently spotted in Yellowstone National Park and created quite a media coverage.
So, what are these creatures and what is their presence in Yellowstone? Below I’ve explained everything you need to know about them.
Are There Wolverines in Yellowstone?
Yes, there are wolverines in Yellowstone. Yellowstone, the nation’s first national park which occupies three different states just last year celebrated 150 years of its opening and operation. And under its belt of being one of the largest national parks, it also hosts some of the most elusive animals including wolverine.
Among the other land-dwelling species like weasels, wolverine is the largest one in the Mustelidae family. It is also known to be quite fierce, strong, and resilient to cold and snowy environments.
Also, these creatures have a large range thereby requiring large land to thrive and live which Yellowstone generously provides. As they are quite rare to spot, many research studies are going on to study and monitor them as we speak.
Wolverine Population in Yellowstone?
The wolverine population in Yellowstone is simply unknown. Although the latest estimate from 2009 is that there are about 7 wolverines recorded, that number could have very well increased or decreased.
For instance, based on a source there are about a dozen or fewer wolverines in Yellowstone. Having said this, we cannot stress enough the difficulty of observing these creatures. But still, it is important that the park’s wildlife agency monitors these creatures’ populations.
Did you know, wolverine was found throughout the lower 48 states in the past? But due to predator control efforts, and commercial trapping in the 1930s, their population hasn’t been restored.
Why is it rare to see a Wolverine?
There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, wolverine by nature is quite solitary and tends to be elusive. Therefore, even before you spot them, they are likely to sense you and disappear.
As they have long ranges, it is also quite difficult for people to encounter them. Additionally, wolverines prefer mountainous regions which have limited disturbances from humans.
Like many other wild animals, wolverine too is nocturnal and typically is more active in dawn and dusk which is usually the time when we humans go to sleep. Their thick fur is another of their features which hides them from human prying eyes.
Also Check our Guide On Wolverine in US
How Big Are The Wolverines In Yellowstone?
Wolverines are comparatively larger in size compared to their cousins like weasels and males are on average larger than female ones. Typically, an adult wolverine weighs anywhere between 26 to 44 pounds and measures anywhere between 30 to 43 inches long and stands at about 12 to inches tall at the shoulder. Though, on average, wolverines have similar sizes, exceptions do exist.
What Does Wolverine Eat In Yellowstone?
Wolverines are omnivorous and Yellowstone national park is just the best place for them to thrive. The park provides a diverse diet including small mammals, scavenged meat, and carrion.
As opportunistic feeders, the wolverine is quite adapted to locating carcasses and accessing them even when they are in deep remote places and even under snow. Additionally, these creatures also include birds, and eggs in their diet. And when meat is not available, they even consume vegetation.
One interesting fact about these creatures is that they have a high metabolic rate which makes it necessary for them to consume a large amount of food. And to maintain their food intake, these creatures also hide their food and store it under snow and rocks to help them survive during leaner months.
Are Wolverines Endangered in Yellowstone?
Once inhabited throughout most parts of the western states of the country, wolverine today is only found in a few specific places including Yellowstone.
But these creatures are not listed as endangered. Although there was a proposal to list them in 2014 put forward by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, it was soon withdrawn in 2016 owing to uncertainties in understanding the wolverine population.
But these creatures are considered a species of conservation due to their low numbers and vulnerability which includes climate change, habitat fragmentation, etc. And Yellowstone National Park is one of the best places for these creatures to survive and thrive. Also, many efforts are being undertaken to better understand these creatures and strategize the way forward for their conservation.
Which Us State Has the Most Wolverines?
Similar to the biggest and rarest wild creatures, Alaska is also home to the thriving population of wolverines. Its remote, expansive, and rugged landscapes make it a perfect habitat for wolverines.
In fact, Alaska has the highest population of wolverines in the country. Other states also have few populations of these creatures including Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.
Since prehistoric times, wolverines like most creatures occupied a large part of the continent and had a broader range including in Alaska. But due to extensive habitat loss, predator hunting and trapping have made their migration restrictive and stuck to an isolated region of the country. But don’t worry, the country’s wildlife agency is putting efforts to protect and manage wolverines across their range.
Also Check Our Guide On Wolverine In Utah
And that was everything you need to know about the Wolverine in Yellowstone. I hope this article answered all your queries.
Thank You For Reading!
Our Source For This Guide
Founder Of This Website
I’m a passionate animal lover and researcher, I’ve created this website so that people can learn about the size and characteristics of different animal species. My goal is to educate and inspire people to appreciate the diversity of our planet’s wildlife.