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Once common weasels are doing a vanishing act

A brown weasel with a white belly leans on a rock and looks over its shoulder

Three species of weasels, once common in North America, are likely in decline, including a species that’s considered the world’s smallest carnivore, according to a new study.

The findings show there’s a need to better track weasels, the researchers say. With better data, they could understand the weasels’ disappearance—whether it’s due to climate change, pesticides and , diseases, or predation from raptors or owls.

“We’re trying to put weasels on the radar,” says study coauthor Roland Kays, research professor of forestry and environmental resources at North Carolina State University and head of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Biodiversity Lab.

Here, Kays explains the study findings, published in , including what’s behind declining weasel numbers:

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