You are currently viewing Newfoundland Pine Marten Spotted In Western NL

Newfoundland Pine Marten Spotted In Western NL

A rare Newfoundland Pine Marten was spotted in Western NL recently on a trail cam on March 5th of 2024 thanks to Twitter user Jim. These lovely little animals were near extinct for so long in Newfoundland & Labrador, so this is happy news to see.

The Newfoundland pine marten (Martes americana atrata) is a genetically distinct subspecies of the American marten, found exclusively on the island of Newfoundland, Canada. This subspecies is one of only 14 species of land mammals native to the island. 

It has been listed as endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2001 and has been protected since 1934. Despite these protections, the population has continued to decline for decades. 

Pine Marten Appearance and Behaviour

The Newfoundland pine marten is slightly larger than its mainland counterparts, with males averaging a weight of 1275 grams and females 772 grams. It has dark brown fur with an orange/yellow patch on the throat. This subspecies inhabits a wider range of forest types compared to its mainland relatives. 

Pine Martens are known for their long, slender body, relatively large, rounded ears, short limbs, and bushy tail. They are solitary animals, leading a mostly nocturnal or diurnal lifestyle, adept at climbing trees and swimming.

Pine Marten Habitat

The Newfoundland pine marten prefers habitats associated with over-mature forests, where older trees provide numerous opportunities for denning and nesting. These habitats include thick, shady woods with a dense canopy, which the martens use for protection and to avoid predators. 

Their range is now condensed into approximately 13,000 square kilometers in the western part of Newfoundland, with significant habitat in the Little Grand Lake area. 

Habitat loss due to unregulated pulpwood harvest and the resulting younger forest stages have been a major threat to their population.

Pine Marten Diet

Omnivorous in nature, the Newfoundland pine marten’s diet consists mainly of small mammals, birds, old carcasses, insects, and fruits. They also consume meadow voles, shrews, snowshoe hares, red squirrels, birds, berries, bird eggs, and carrion when available.

Conservation Status In NL

The Newfoundland pine marten has shown signs of recovery due to efforts by the Newfoundland Marten Recovery Team and local residents. Its status was downlisted from Endangered to Threatened in 2007, and more recently, to Vulnerable. Current population estimates for mature martens range between 2500 to 2800 individuals. 

The major threats to their survival include habitat loss, accidental trapping, disease, and potential food scarcity.

Special Significance

The Newfoundland pine marten holds a special significance as it is one of the few native mammal species on the island. Historically trapped for its fur, the marten is now a symbol of conservation success, albeit with ongoing challenges.

In summary, the Newfoundland pine marten is a critical part of Newfoundland’s biodiversity, representing both the fragility and resilience of island ecosystems. Continued conservation efforts are essential to ensure the survival of this unique subspecies.

Whaddya At?