The United Kingdom just welcomed it's first-ever Wolverine cubs at Cotswold Wildlife Park. While the trio were born in January, the cubs are just now making their debut from the den. Born to mom Sharapova and her mate Sarka, the cubs are part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP). There are only eighty wolverines in zoos worldwide.
The cubs are born blind, with a cream colored fluff, which turns darker at the same time as the typical face mask develops. After spending around nine weeks in the den, keepers (and visitors) are finally seeing the rare cubs as they venture out and explore their new woodland enclosure. Wolverines feature prominently in many Finnish myths and legends, so the cubs have been given Finnish names: Ensin (meaning ‘first’, as they are the first to be born in this country, Nalka (meaning ‘hungry’, due to their voracious appetite) and Niemi (named after the Curator’s daughter).
Jamie Craig, Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park and member of the EEP committee for Wolverines, said: “The Wolverines are a particular favorite at the Park and certainly do not deserve their fearsome reputation! Having said that, Sharapova is extremely protective of her cubs and keeps a close eye on the inquisitive male, Sarka. We are delighted to be the first UK collection to breed this species and the cubs will eventually move on to become important breeding animals in other European zoos.”
Wolverines are the largest terrestrial mustelid, which puts them in the same family as weasels, martins, otters and other animals . The elusive beast has a reputation for its power and ferocity and is also known as ‘The Glutton’ due to its rapacious appetite, consuming large quantities in one sitting. Wolverines possess one of the most powerful bites per square inch of any mammal.