"Wolverines Return to Mount Rainier After 100-Year Absence"

"Conservationists at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State have spotted a wolverine mother and her two offspring, known as kits. A reproductive female hasn’t been seen in this national park for over a century, which suggests ecological conditions in the area are improving.

Wolverines, despite their popularity in the public’s imagination, are super rare. An estimated 300 to 1,000 individuals are thought to exist in the Lower 48, according to the National Park Service (NPS). Population density estimates for these solitary animals range from 6.2 individuals for every 600 square miles (1,554 square kilometers) of high-quality habitat, and just 0.3 individuals for the same area of land in less suitable areas.

These animals have a voracious appetite and will eat virtually everything, from carrion, nuts and berries through to live prey such as mice, marmots, squirrels, hares, and even porcupines. As meat-eaters, wolverines fill an important ecological niche. For conservationists, population declines among carnivorous species signal a deteriorating food web, while the opposite holds true for their recovery."

George Dvorsky reports for Earther August 28, 2020.

Source: Earther, 08/31/2020