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Animals & Attractions

Wolverine

In our collection

We have two wolverines at the Park. Our male arrived in April 2013 from Edinburgh Zoo. His name is Xale, and he was originally born in February 2005 in Helsinki Zoo. In February 2015 we received a new female called Tina and she is settling in well to her new home. In February this year, Tina gave birth to 2 kits, which can now be seen in the main enclosure.

The best time to see our wolverine is early morning and late afternoon.

Where to see them

The wolverines can be seen in the walk round area near the car park and next to the red pandas

Threats and conservation

Wolverines are threatened in the wild mainly by conflict with humans. Many are killed through hunting and trapping. Wolverines are also frequently shot or poisoned because they prey on domesticated livestock, especially sheep and, in some areas, domestic reindeer. The North American subspecies seems to be increasing, but the European animals are actively threatened.

Find out more

Status

Not Endangered NE
Data Deficient DD
Least Concern LC
Near Threatened NT
Vulnerable VU
Endangered EN
Critically Endangered CR
Extinct in the wild EW
Extinct EX

Least Concern

For more info on classifications visit www.iucnredist.org

Size

Population

Population decreasing IUCN May 2015 (Vulnerable in Europe)

Habitat

  • Forest and woodlands

    Forest and woodlands

  • Grasslands

    Grasslands

Diet

In The Wild

Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are the largest member of the mustelidae family, which includes weasels, stoats, badgers and otters. They are noted for their great strength and fierce nature, and have the documented ability to kill prey many times their size.

Wolverines are a widespread species, found from northern Europe to Siberia and throughout northern North America. They inhabit boreal forests, mountains or open plains and brushlands. In Europe, wolverines can be found in Norway, Sweden, Finland and the European part of Russia. In North America, there have been recent sightings of wolverines in the northwest of the United States, but most wolverines on that continent live in Canada.

The wolverine has a chestnut-brown coat that merges down to dark brown or black legs and tail. A lighter-coloured tan or cream-coloured band runs down either side of the wolverine's body, and a cream or silvery-gray mask above the eyes is seen in some individuals. It is bear-like in appearance, and is more stocky and solidly-built than most other members of the mustelid family. The wolverine has short, stout legs with broad paws and long, sharp claws. It has a compact, rounded head with small eyes, small ears, and extremely strong jaws. Adult male wolverines are up to 30 percent larger than the females, and weigh from 10 - 25 kg (22 - 55 lb.) Like other mustelids, wolverines use their anal scent glands to mark territory and signal others of their species.

Wolverines are mostly nocturnal, meaning active at night. However, they may have some daylight activity. It is believed that they evolved to scavenge from the carcasses of animals killed by other predators. While scavenged food plays an important part in their diet, wolverines also actively hunt animals like rodents, hares, musk deer, roe deer, and other ungulates. They have even been documented killing animals as large as reindeer. Wolverines have also been known to aggressively harass and steal food from larger predators such as wolves and cougars.

Wolverines are solitary animals, coming together typically only to reproduce. Individual wolverines can have a huge home territory of up to 100 - 500 square km (65 - 300 square miles) for males and 100 - 200 square km (65 - 125 square miles) for females. While a male's territory will overlap with a female's, territories of same-sex wolverines almost never overlap.

Meet the Wolverine