Rare sighting of pine marten creates stir

A rare sighting: this Pine Marten was seen at FortWhyte Alive last week. Photo by Dave Woods.

The noisy calls of magpies and crashing leafy branches alerted observers to a tree-top chase south of FortWhyte Alive’s reception centre. A curious crowd was thrilled to see a marten leaping through oak and aspen as it evaded the mob of birds.

Rarely encountered in Winnipeg, Pine Marten (Martes americana) prefer tree-top life in dense stands of boreal forest where they hunt squirrels. Martens are secretive members of the mustelid, or weasel family.

The marten’s lustrous fur and cat-like face drew onlookers as it scrambled away from the magpies and disappeared under a garden shed.

Dave Woods, a FortWhyte visitor, managed to snap a photo of the marten during this brief and unusual encounter on October 24th.

When asked if he could remember a marten at FortWhyte during the park’s 40-year history, CEO Bill Elliott said, “No. We’ve had fishers, mink…but never marten.”

Site Manager and wildlife commentator, Ken Cudmore, remarked, “I’ve seen tracks. I’ve followed tracks right up into a hole in a tree. But I’ve never seen one [a Pine Marten]. Cool!”


Barret Miller is a budding community journalist, and has been an Outdoor Educator at FortWhyte Alive for 7 years, in which he's never seen a marten.

One response to “Rare sighting of pine marten creates stir”

  1. M LeBlanc

    This is amazing. We need to see articles like this, as there are many sightings of rare animals and birds in Manitoba and no one reports them. The article is very well written.