The wolverine breeds in the northern hemisphere around the globe. The population, however, is sparse and constantly declining. 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 conifer forests and mountainous areas. Its main nutrition consists of carrion, but it may also prey on reindeer and other smaller mammals. It may take advantage of the offal of a moose, and it enjoys berries in the woods also. Wolverines are extremely mobile and they have a large habitat. They can travel even 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. Until 1976 even some bounty was paid for killing a wolverine. The wolverine was protected completely in 1982; after 1983, furthermore, no more special hunting permits for wolverines were granted. Wolverines, however, have still been poached, especially in Lapland. The current (2016) wolverine population of about 250 individuals in Finland have given the wolverine the status of critically endangered species. The wolverines at the Ranua Wildlife Park are part of the European Endangered Species Protection Program (EEP).
ADAPTING TO THE WINTER
The wolverine sheds its fur for a warmer one 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