There are several theories as to why the survival of Canada’s snowpack is essential to the survival of the wolverine. Young wolverines use the snowpack as a throughway to new territories, making it vital to the geographical spread of the population. Furthermore, the wolverine has, over centuries, become perfectly adapted to the snowpack, unlike their prey. The animals that they hunt are not as deft at maneuvering in the snow, thus ensuring a food supply for the wolverine. Finally, female wolverines nest in deep snow, and the loss of it could mess up their reproductive success.
For wolverines, less snow pack means less food and less mobility. Researchers are finding that with milder winters (less snow) mean less elk and moose die because of the cold leaving less food options for the wolverines. Wolverines also use snow as a burrow to hide from hunters so less snow = more predators = declining populations. Female wolverines usually give birth in the same snow burrows but if there is little to no snow, she does not feel safe and babies often do not survive.
Wolverines depend on snowpack for a few reasons. They use tunnels in the snow to find new territory, and females use snow caves as their dens, where they give birth. It’s also valuable for wolverines’ food sources. Deep snow is a problem for the moose, caribou, and elk upon which wolverines feed. Rodents, another food source, live in the snow.
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