Climate change threatens wolverines. Glacier NP is a refuge

As snow depth diminishes, the deep snows of the mountains become more crucial for wolverines because they need the snow in the  high bowls for denning.

With the coming of high powered snowmobiles much of this country has already been damaged. A five-year study of Glacier NP, where these machines are not allowed shows that its deep winters snows are a critical remnant of denning habitat.

Story in the Great Falls Tribune. By Eric Newhouse.



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  1. d. Bailey Hill Avatar

    Why is deep snow and cold temps necessary to denning?

  2. Lynne Stone Avatar
    Lynne Stone

    A wolverine study was also done in the wild mountains of Central Idaho. This was before the advent of the “powder sleds”, a name for a snowmachine that can go almost anywhere including high cirque basins preferred by wolverines.

    Jeff Copeland also did a multi-year wolverine study in our area. Myself and others helped secure Congressional funding for the original wolverine research project here. Since that time, and since Jeff’s notable research of wolverines in Central Idaho, unfortunately there has been no attempt from the USFS to control or restrict snowmachine use that is now rampant throughout our mountains.

    Two years ago on a field trip with local USFS officials, in prime, documented wolverine habitat, I heard that without intensive study, there was no way that the forest would or could restrict snowmachine use. There was no money.

    One would think that in the absence of knowledge, the USFS would weigh on behalf of the wolverine. Not so. But then, I realize the ugly politics that anyone speaking up for wildlife has to face at this point in time.

    20 years ago I found a dead wolverine, shot by a sheepherder. The ‘rine was likely attracted to a dead sheep carcass around the sheep band. It’s very unfortunate that in 20 years, things have gotten worse, not better for rare animals like the wolverine.

  3. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Let’s talk about Montana”s wolverines……. Despite the fact that wolverines are so rare(less than 1000 left in the lower 48, and less than 200 in Montana) Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks still allows trapping for them. The ONLY state that does.
    It’s another case of MFWP not having to guts to stand up to a special interest group, in this case the trappers.
    Our game commission held a hearing last August regarding wolverine trapping. I requested all comments submitted. There were a total of 134. Only ONE supported continued trapping and that was from a spokesman for the trappers association. So much for “public comments”.
    Check out “footloosemontana .org” for more info

  4. skyrim Avatar

    How big of a lobby can the trapping community be? Other forces are at work here and one of them is rampant stupidity. I’ll tell you what you can do with your “dominion over the animals” theology………….

  5. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b’s a very powerful lobby supported by both state government, the MFWP and the livestock industry.
    And please explain your comment about “my dominion over animals theology”.

  6. skyrim Avatar

    Sorry Jerry I did not mean to attach “you” as in your/yourself to the theory. It was a mass over generalization based on the interpretation from the Biblical saying.
    A powerful lobby that was represented by one solitary opinion in the game commission comment period. That amazes me.
    I have very few dreams left that have not been fulfilled in my lifetime. Observing a Wolverine in the wild is one of my last. Thanks to people like you jerry, I may have that opportunity….

  7. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Skyrim….thanks for the clarification. I also hope to see my first wolverine in the wild. The feds are due to rule on an ESA designation for them in February which will make the trapping here a non-issue, so there’s hope for us.

  8. skyrim Avatar

    And I hope that you will post a link here on this thread when that happens. ^..^
    Personal trapping story:
    In the very early 1920s, my Grandfather (who was a young man at the time, and also a trapper) while running a trap line in the Sawtooths found a huge Grizzly trap hanging from an Aspen branch that had completely overgrown around the ring that is used to stake it to the ground. He had to cut the branch which he described as being around 8-10″ in diameter at the base in order to retrieve it. He related that given the size of the now large branch the owner had lost track of it or had passed on. He said he could never use it because he didn’t want to deal with what it may end up being attached to. Anyway over the years I became fond of it hanging in his garage as a young boy. Several years before he passed away he gave it to me. I immediately took it to a welder friend of mine and had him heat the spring steel to a point where there was very little spring to the jaws. Just enough so that a person could set the trap and trigger the pad releasing the jaws but with so little a force that they would not come together with any power or grip. The trap, long since an antique, is worthless in a money sense, but it is invaluable to me as it served as the primer for my 30 plus years of fascination with big bears and other carnivores, such as the Wolverine. It also brought me to the Conservation community.

  9. jerry b Avatar
    jerry b

    Skyrim….you might find this site interesting…””
    Also check…””

  10. Monte Avatar

    Snowmobiles are a destructive force to wintering and high altitude wildlife and need to be severely restricted. Human caused global warming, on the other hand, is a farce furthered by people who wish to control others. In many ways it is no different than racism, classism, sexism, etc… Excuses used to force others to bend to your wishes.

  11. skyrim Avatar

    “Furthered farcism” Ya! I can see the connection there.

  12. JB Avatar


    Can you point to any research that backs up your claim about global warming?


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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