Newfoundland martens are one of 14 species of mammals native to insular Newfoundland. They arrived here some 10,000 years ago when the island was connected to the mainland by a forested landbridge or island chain.
Separation from continental North America by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Strait of Belle Isle for at least 7,000 years has caused some of our native animals to become genetically different from the same species on the mainland. Our wolf, now extinct, was generally larger than the ones living on the adjacent mainland. The Newfoundland marten is slightly larger, too, and has fur colour slightly darker than its mainland cousin, Martes americana. The Newfoundland marten is scientifically known as Martes americana atrata.
The fact that our marten lives nowhere else in the world is reason enough to protect it from extinction. Since 1996 and the formation of the Newfoundland Marten Recovery Team, great strides have been made to protect this unique animal. You can do your part by:
1. Reporting sightings of marten to the Wildlife Division (709) 637-2026
2. Adhering to snaring and trapping regulations. (See the Hunting and Trapping Guide.)
3. Supporting habitat protection for all our rare species.
To learn more about the Newfoundland marten and the efforts being made to remove it from a species watch list, visit the websites listed below: