FURBEARER FRIDAY: Catching up with the wolverine
Welcome to Furbearer Friday! Our focus today is on the Nǫ̀gha (wolverine).
Though small in size, the nǫ̀gha is found in low densities in the boreal forest and tundra areas of the Northwest Territories where caribou range. It can also be found in areas of Nunavut – especially the Kitikmeot region – and parts of British Columbia and Alaska.
A ‘Wolverine Biological Assessment for the Range of the Bathurst (Kǫk’èetı Ekwǫ̀) and Bluenose-East (Sahtì Ekwǫ̀) Barren-ground Caribou Herds’ was submitted by the Grizzly Bear and Wolverine Biological and Management Feasibility Working Group to decision makers on July 25.
The Wek’èezhìı Renewable Resources Board (WRRB), as co-manager of the nǫ̀gha with the Tłı̨chǫ Government, and Government of the Northwest Territories, has raised concern since 2019 about knowledge of nǫ̀gha populations in the NWT and Nunavut.
Because ɂekwǫ̀ are a main food source of the nǫ̀gha and because of declining Kǫk’èetı ekwǫ̀ and Sahtì Ekwǫ̀ populations in recent decades, it is of serious concern how much the nǫ̀gha has impacted ɂekwǫ̀.
This week’s completed biological assessment allows for decision makers to use the compiled knowledge for a potential predator management program.
According to the GNWT Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the nǫ̀gha has been assessed as ‘not at risk’ in the NWT since 2014. This Northwest Territories Species At Risk Committee has determined that nǫ̀gha have access to various habitats and conditions, with minimal impacts from habitat fragmentation, so they are not at immediate risk.
As a scavenger and predator, the nǫ̀gha has a status of ‘special concern’ in much of the rest of Canada meaning they are considered sensitive to disturbance and might become threatened or endangered in the future.
More information on the nǫ̀gha in the NWT can be found on the Government of the Northwest Territories Environment and Natural Resources web page at https://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/en/services/wolverine.