Good news for wolverine fans, says species at risk committee

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Yellowknife, NWT – The wolverine that’s been hanging around Yellowknife recently can breathe easy.

It turns out wolverines are not at risk in the North. In fact, they’re doing pretty well.

That’s the verdict of the territory’s species at risk committee, which assessed the health of both the wolverine and the western toad in its latest study.

“We assessed the wolverine as not at risk based on the best traditional knowledge and scientific information in front of us,” Paul Latour, the committee’s interim chair, told Moose FM.

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“The population seems to be stable if not expanding somewhat, especially in the far north.”

Latour says the only slight concern for the wolverine is that numbers may be slightly down in the central barrens – otherwise the species gets a clean bill of health.

Not such good news for the western toad, which the committee says is now threatened.

One reason is the toad’s habitat is restricted to the south-west corner of the territory, where it lives in only small numbers.

Disease and environmental disturbance – such as the clearing of land – may also have been detrimental, alongside possible effects of climate change.

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Latour says that while this may seem like a quiet year for species at risk, the overall change in the picture since he started work has been alarming.

“Certainly, the list is expanding,” he said. “When I started my career, years ago, there was barely a species at risk at all. I leave that to your imagination as to what it says about habitat, environment and our relationships with these animals.”

Next year’s assessments will include the barren-ground caribou, which Latour says will be of “big interest” to many people in the territory given a decline in the size of herds that ministers say is ‘alarming’.

“We also have wood bison coming up in the next year or so, and the grizzly bear,” said Latour. “Some fairly prominent species are up for assessment in the next year or two.”

CJCD Moose FM News

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