The Alaska Zoo welcomes two wolverine cubs

Olga, a North American wolverine, rests on a wooden structure during Kids Day at the Alaska Zoo...
Olga, a North American wolverine, rests on a wooden structure during Kids Day at the Alaska Zoo in 2017. (John Gomes/Alaska Zoo)(john gomes | John Gomes)
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 2:28 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Zoo announced Friday the birth of two wolverine kits, a formerly threatened species, to its facility.

The zoo estimates Olga, the wolverine mother, to have given birth to the kits on Feb. 10, according to a press release issued Friday.

“As every parent knows, raising kids is enriching and very challenging. Our wolverine care team prepared a very appropriate enclosure giving Olga cues and low-stress levels to allow for implantation of embryos, eventual birth and rearing of the kits,” said Curator Shannon Jenson. “What a fabulous partnership between humans and animals. I am so very proud of the wolverines and team.”

Prior to the kits’ arrival, Myer said animal care staff worked in advance to equip the wolverine habitat area with stick and log piles, multiple den boxes and plenty of bedding for Olga and Jumbo, the wolverine father.

Olga first arrived at the zoo in 2015 as a 1-year-old wolverine from the Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia. She was later joined by Jumbo, a male who arrived as a 3-year-old in 2016 from Järvzoo in Sweden. This is the first time Olga and Jumbo have paired to produce a litter of kits.

Zoo officials ask the visiting public to observe quietly from the trails to keep Olga and her new kits calm and comfortable, as she raises them.

Baby wolverines, otherwise called kits or cubs, are born covered in light-colored fur. Kits nurse from their mother for their first 10 weeks, according to the release.

It added that the kits should be capable of moving around with her by late May. The kits will grow quickly, reaching adult size by late fall.

Wolverines were formerly considered a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013, according to a federal register.

However, a service press release issued in October stated that the factors affecting wolverine populations are not as significant as believed in 2013.

“In the time since our original proposal, the science on wolverine has been greatly advanced thanks to the work of state wildlife agencies and researchers in the U.S. and around the world,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Noreen Walsh.

Although wolverines are considered safe at the moment, the species will continue to be managed by state wildlife agencies and tribes with assistance from other land management and conservation partners.

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