Gulo gulo time

Gulo gulo time

Move over wolves and lynx – you may soon have a new neighbor. On March 4, state legislators, including our own Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, took the first step toward reintroducing the North American wolverine to Colorado. Senate Bill 24-171 is set to kickstart the animal’s reintroduction following its listing as a threatened species in late 2023.

In Colorado, legislative action is required before Colorado Parks and Wildlife can begin reintroduction of any threatened or endangered species. The bipartisan bill would start the process, allocating $750,000 for the reintroduction effort. However, before reintroductions can take place, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must first pass a Section 10(j) rule, declaring reintroduced Colorado wolverines as a non-essential experimental population.

For those unfamiliar with the largest member of the weasel family (species name gulo gulo), it is described, using your best “Honey Badger” voice, as a tenacious scavenger that thrives in a harsh world of snow and ice. With a solitary nature and a strong survival instinct, the wolverine is an icon of arctic, boreal and alpine environments. With short, rounded ears, a broad head and stocky body, wolverines are sometimes compared to a skunk-badger-bear combo. Or a furrier, nongreen Shreck.

Unfortunately, wolverines are defenseless against climate change and loss of snowpack (or the state’s sky-high housing prices, but we digress.) “That’s why it’s so important that Colorado moves forward with returning these animals to the high mountains, where we can help give them a fighting chance,” Michael Saul, of Defenders of Wildlife, said. 

Following eradication from much of the Lower 48 through trapping and poisoning in the 20th century, it’s estimated there are fewer than 325 wolverines remaining. They face threats from habitat fragmentation, increased human presence and the loss of snowpack. Wolverines rely on hard-packed snow in the winter to store food and dig dens for raising young. 

Colorado wildlife officials considered restoring the wolverine, along with Canada lynx, in the 1990s. However, due to complexities, the wolverine plans were shelved in favor of the lynx (probably because the lynx is a lot cuter). After lynx restoration was deemed a success, CPW returned to the wolverine in 2010, but that was halted because of uncertainty surrounding the federal listing.

Of course, all this begs the question: is there a South American wolverine?

Top Stories

Mano y mono
04/11/2024
Mano y mono
By Missy Votel

Local ripper keeps retro sport alive and proves one ski is all you need

Read More
Ready to take flight
04/04/2024
Ready to take flight
By Missy Votel

Valkyrie Multisport Relay Race descends on Durango for second year

Read More
Who turned out the lights?
04/04/2024
Who turned out the lights?
By Missy Votel

Highlighting Durango's effort to obtain Dark Sky status

Read More
Retiring at altitude
03/28/2024
Retiring at altitude
By Paolo Zialcita / Colorado Public Radio

Air is thinner and care can be far away, but recreation abounds
 

Read More
Read All in Top Stories

The Pole

BYOPFD
04/11/2024

Grab the sunscreen, SUP, wetsuit and … life jacket. Lake Nighthorse opens for the season this Fri., April 12, with new rules requiring personal flotation devices and sound-signaling devices, like whistles, on paddle crafts.  

Tie on the feedbag
04/11/2024

If you’re famished from all your water sports this weekend, check out Durango Restaurant Week, April 12-21 (actually 10 days.)

Lord of the lunge
03/28/2024

It’s another one for the books. On Fri., March 25, New Yorker Austin Head set a Guinness World Record for lunging. As in those horrible exercises they make you do at the gym until your quads freeze up.

A trainer at Life Time Fitness in Brooklyn, Head broke the record by lunging 2,825 times in an hour through his DUMBO (“Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”) neighborhood in Brooklyn. That’s 47 lunges a minute for those with a calculator, enough to smash the old record of 2,358 lunges. (Yes, apparently this lunging is a thing.)

Southern exposure
03/21/2024

While Durango endures the endless mud season, trails are drying out down south. Wait, what trails down south? Allow Neil Hannum, local cyclist and founder of Aztec Adventures, to introduce you.

According to Hannum, the sandy washes, oil roads and winding ridges of old New Mexico are prime mtb and gravel-riding terrain. So much so that Hannum started Aztec Adventures a few years back to share his love of the San Juan County, N.M., riding scene. 

Read All Stories in the Pole