Rebecca Watters, Executive Director of the Wolverine Foundation and environmental scientist, gave a presentation as part of the Honors Program lectures Sept. 11. “The Science of the Fearsome (but vulnerable) Wolverine” expands on the characteristics and life of a wolverine, just in time for Homecoming week.
The Wolverine Foundation is a non-profit foundation formed in 1996. Its purpose is to create interest in wolverines and the role they play in the wildlife community.
Watters discovered her love for wildlife while volunteering with the Peace Corp in Mongolia where she later returned to track Wolverines. Watters describes the characteristics of what she calls “a gigantic weasel” as ferocious, opportunistic, naturally rare, highly mobile and highly territorial.
Wolverines are “one of the least understood and most fascinating creatures on earth,” Watters said.
Though wolverines are not on the endangered list yet, there are still major concerns for the animals survival. The largest concern is climate change, as wolverines need cold weather and snow to thrive. Because of this, Watters is unsure if getting wolverines on the endangered list will result in much change.
“Polar bears were listed due to climate change under the Bush administration. Immediately as it happened there was a special rule that was put in saying you cannot use the endangered species act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions,” Watters said. “So the endangered species act is a little bit hamstrung when it comes to actually protecting species that are at risk due to climate change.”
Watters urges any student interested in wildlife or environmental science to reach out and be part of their cause. She loves working with universities and welcomes all UVU students.
During the Q&A, Watters was asked who would win in a fight, a cougar or a wolverine. Watters said it would depend on the circumstances.
“If a wolverine is on a kill and a cougar comes in on that kill, the wolverine will stand and fight the cougar if it is hungry enough,” Watters said. “They can hold their own when they need to.”