The wolverine breeds in the northern hemisphere around the globe. The population, however, is sparse and constantly declining. The majority of the wolverines in Finland live in the northern and eastern parts of the country. In the 1980’s and -90’s wolverines were introduced to the central and western parts of Finland. The wolverine prefers coniferous forests and mountainous areas. Their main nutrition consists of carrion, but it may also prey on reindeer and other smaller mammals. The wolverine may take advantage of the offal of a moose, however, they also enjoy berries in the woods. Wolverines are extremely mobile and have a large habitat. They can travel up to 50 km in a day. The solitary wolverine is mainly night-active.
Wolverines have been persecuted because of the damages they cause to the reindeer husbandry in Finland. Up until 1976 a bounty was paid for killing a wolverine. The wolverine was completely protected in 1982, but after 1983, no more special hunting permits for wolverines were granted. Wolverine have still been poached, especially in Lapland. In 2016, the wolverine population of about 250 individuals in Finland have given the animal the status of a critically endangered species. The wolverines at the Ranua Wildlife Park are part of the European Endangered Species Protection Program (EEP).
ADAPTING TO WINTER
The wolverine sheds its fur for a warmer coat for the winter. The pads of the paws have soft papillae, and are comparatively large in relation to its body-weight, enabling it a fairly easy and fast travel on ice and across snow-covered banks.
Class: Mammalia – Mammals
Order: Carnivora- Carnivores
Family: Mustelidae – Mustelids
Size: Weight: 8–28kg, male larger than the female. Length: 70–85cm + length of tail 16–25cm. Stands at 40–45cm at the withers.
Breeding: Heat: April-August. Delayed fetogenesis; the embryo does not implant in the uterus until 35 days before the new babies are born in February-March. Offspring: 1-3 at a time. Independent in 6 months, sexual maturity in 1,5 years.
Lifespan: 10 years
Did you know…
Did you know that the old legend telling that a wolverine pack can kill tens of reindeer at a time, gives an altogether falsified picture of the wolverine? The wolverine lives on prey, but it can catch an adult reindeer only if the snow is strong enough to carry the wolverine, but not the reindeer. The wolverine is a solitary animal, and does not prey in a pack.