Loose Ends: The lonely only

dollyviscardiA recent headline in a neighboring newspaper proclaimed the return of one of our northwest Colorado species with great fanfare — “Wolverine Returns.”
It was meant to be taken literally, as one sole native son of the species that used to be common in this parts recently crossed the northern border of our state. At first glance, one might think this particular individual had lived here himself for quite a few years, but then it is apparent that he is a young male looking to branch out from his large extended family in Wyoming.
This past weekend’s reunions of the human variety of native sons and daughters demonstrate the importance of our places of origin. We celebrate by gathering together every few years or so. It could be that this wolverine is starting a trend in the animal kingdom, as well. Apparently, the return of the first wolverine was just that — a single representative of an animal species that were poisoned and trapped until the 1930s.
The Grand Junction Sentinel reported, the “New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society said that Colorado had its first wild wolverine in 90 years and the tagged wolverine was part of the group based in Grand Teton National Park — a 2-year old male who weighs 20 to 30 pounds.” This lonely-only appeared to be “batching it” and most likely (based on the movements of male humans into this region) returned across the border when he realized the likelihood of finding a mate was slim.
The single man’s or woman’s plight in the White River Valley is not unlike that of the wolverine. Many of the area’s young, transient, energy-working population complain about being single in a very married area. While this area has hosted a younger population for the past few years, it continues to be the great small-town atmosphere that attracts more families and senior citizens.
It is not just the lack of other young, single, men and women that bothers them, it is the fact that everyone watches them all the time. If they are not being set up on blind dates, they are being questioned about their whereabouts all hours of the day. While no one has approached them with an ear tag or tracking collar yet, that development could be fast approaching.
Researchers have not reported food drops to the wolverine, as yet, so the one advantage for the human singletons wandering into this valley is the constant stream of home-baked goodies and hot meals in the earliest days of the single person’s occupancy. Of course, the disadvantage is that all those extra pounds more than fatten them up for the long, lonely, winter ahead. Last year, scientists studying obesity and the social habits of humans reported that we all get fat along with our friends. If that is true, it stands to reason that if nothing else, the single wolverine won’t get pudgy from potlucks and slow down his wandering. At this very moment, researchers could be scratching their heads to explain the circular tracks heading back to Wyoming.