Species at Risk
The Newfoundland Marten
Parks Canada biologist, John Gosse, discusses marten
recovery with participants in the Newfoundland Marten Volunteer Program.
© Parks Canada / J.W. Gosse
What is the status of the Newfoundland Marten?
In the early 1980s, the Newfoundland Marten population was estimated at 630
to 875 individuals. Based on those numbers, COSEWIC designated the Newfoundland
Marten as a threatened
But by 1995, the population had declined to only 300 marten-a number
that increases their vulnerability to threats like habitat loss, accidental
deaths in traps and snares, and disease. In areas where only a few martens
exist, an outbreak of disease, or further habitat,
could wipe out all the remaining marten living in that area.
In response to this further decline, COSEWIC
listed the Newfoundland Marten in the more serious “endangered”
Why is the Newfoundland Marten in danger?
Because marten are a forest dependent species, removal of large expanses
of this habitat through timber harvesting poses a threat to population recovery.
We must all take responsibility to ensure that our forests are used sustainably
so that species like the Newfoundland Marten can continue to exist.
Some residents of Newfoundland enjoy hunting and trapping animals like fox,
mink and snowshoe hares. Unfortunately, martens are often unintentionally
caught in snares and traps set for these other furbearers. This has prompted
wildlife managers to establish special management areas where specific traps
and snares known to reduce the occurrence of accidental captures must be used.