Are There Still Wolverines In New York State?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recenlty announced that they have listed wolverines as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. According to SourceNM, a “threatened species” is "a species likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future".
Their population has steadily declined since the 19th century due to trapping, range reduction and habitat fragmentation, says Wikipedia.
Wolverines are known for their strength and ferocity, and have been known to kill prey many times larger than itself. Wolverines are mainly found in the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere, in places like Canada, Alaska, and Russia.
Are There Still Wolverines in New York State?
Wolverines are part of an larger family of wildlife known as Mustelids. According to the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Project, they were New York state's largest native mustelid, who had called New York home for a number of centuries.
The page says that around the time Europeans had settled in what would become New York, evidence of wolverines could be found all over the Adirondacks and Catskills.
And while the information is a bit scarce, it is possible wolverines drifted further south across other parts of the state at the time. The Fish and Game Department of Alaska say the animal will "move long distances in short periods of time" to take advantage of resources.
The same page also said they preferred the lowlands during the winter months.
Unfortunately, the project page says that by the middle of the 19th century wolverines were gone from the Catskills and by end of that century, they were completely gone from the state. The species were trapped and hunted for their pelts and as pests, though unlike the beaver, they were never reintroduced into the state.
The Hawthorne page says that wolverines are now extinct in New York state. At that certainly wasn't the case at one time though.
A-Z Animals says that the closest wolverines live in parts Canada, Washington State, and other states the Rocky Mountains, as well as Alaska.
Hudson Valley Wildlife Gallery
Gallery Credit: Paty Quyn