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Species at Risk

The Newfoundland Marten

Martes americana atrata

Why protect the Newfoundland Marten?

Radio-collaring an immobilized Newfoundland Marten.
Radio-collaring an immobilized Newfoundland Marten.
© Parks Canada

The Newfoundland marten is one of only 14 native mammals in Newfoundland and is very important to the biodiversity of this island. It is also an important part of the natural and cultural heritage of Newfoundland. Like all animals, the marten has a right to exist and we have a responsibility to ensure our actions do not threaten its survival. Finally, by taking action to protect the marten and its habitat, we are, in turn, helping to conserve other species and our natural environment.

What is Parks Canada doing to save the Newfoundland Marten?

Protected areas like Terra Nova National Park offer critical habitat where logging and trapping are prohibited. That makes Parks Canada, a member of the Newfoundland Marten Recovery Team, a key player in restoring Newfoundland Marten populations.

Two important recovery activities are research and monitoring. These activities help us learn more about how the Newfoundland Marten lives, and what it needs to survive.

Terra Nova National Park has been involved with recovery efforts since the 1980s. In 1996, park staff partnered with World Wildlife Fund Canada and Newfoundland’s Inland Fish and Wildlife Division to intensify population recovery in eastern Newfoundland.

Researchers have live-trapped martens in the park, outfitted them with radio-collars, and followed their movements to find out the following information:

  • the size of their home ranges;
  • the types of forest they used;
  • their feeding habits; and
  • their dispersal patterns.

The information gathered through this recovery program will continue to enhance marten education programs and stewardship initiatives within and beyond park boundaries.

Terra Nova National Park’s ongoing research and monitoring activities show that Newfoundland Martens are reproducing successfully within the park.
It is estimated that between 30 and 35 animals currently live in Terra Nova National Park and surrounding lands. Parks Canada and the Newfoundland Marten Recovery Team aim to establish a population of at least 50 martens in the Terra Nova National Park area by the year 2010.