Wolverine

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The wolverine, Gulo gulo (Gulo is Latin for "glutton"), also referred to as glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, quickhatch, or gulon, is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae (weasels). It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids. The wolverine has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times its size.

The wolverine can be found primarily in remote reaches of the Northern boreal forests and subarctic and alpine tundra of the Northern hemisphere, with the greatest numbers in Alaska, Canada, the Nordic countries of Europe, and throughout western Russia and Siberia. Their populations have experienced a steady decline since the 19th century in the face of trapping, range reduction and habitat fragmentation, such that they are essentially absent in the southern end of their European range. It is, however, estimated that large populations remain in North America and North Asia.[2]

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Taxonomy

Genetic evidence suggests that the wolverine is most closely related to the tayra and martens (scientific names Eira and Martes respectively), all of which shared a Eurasian ancestor.[3]

Within the Gulo genus, there is a clear separation between two subspecies: the Old World form Gulo gulo gulo and the New World form G. g. luscus. Some authors had described as many as four additional North American subspecies, including ones limited to Vancouver Island (G. g. vancouverensis) and the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska (G. g. katschemakensis). However, the most currently accepted taxonomy recognizes either the two continental subspecies or recognize G. gulo as a single Holarctic taxon.[4]

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