Showing posts with label wolverines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wolverines. Show all posts

March 12, 2022

Wolverines! They Might Be Coming Back to Colorado

Wolverine in Glacier Nat. Park (NPS)
Fictional southern Colorado high schools may no longer be accused of using an almost non-existent animal (in this state) as their mascot.

The last confirmed wolverine sighting — and it was a rare one—  was in 2009. A tagged male wolverine left northwestern Wyoming, wandered intp Colordo, and then headed for North Dakota.

Indeed, from his starting point near Jackson Hole, M56 took less than a month to arrive in the Centennial State, where his kind was last reported in 1919.

The venture confirmed what was believed of wolverines’ tendency to cover vast ground. Still, researchers were astonished by the speed. And more than that, they marveled at watching in real time the animal of mythological lore that had always evaded their view. (Recent estimates suggest low densities, small numbers in big places — between 250 and 350 moving across rugged, remote fringes of the Lower 48 states.)

Colorado Parks & Wildlife (back then the Colorado Division of Wildlife) formulated some reintroduction plans, but did not carry through. Now, wolverines are back on the table, so to speak. (You would not want a live one on your table.)

Wolverine reintroduction has not come up in Colorado Wildlife Commission meetings for more than a decade. The agency began a wolverine reintroduction process in 2010 and created “an extensive plan for how reintroduction could be accomplished,” said CPW spokesman Travis Duncan. 

Recently, the agency has been reviewing that plan and process to find possible update and what remains workable, Duncan said. 

“We will be working with a wolverine expert who is going to take on updating and providing greater detail on a wolverine restoration and management plan,” he said. “The contract isn’t in place yet, but we hope to be able to say more on this soon.”

Meanwhile, in Lewistown, Montana, urban wolverines? We're not there yet. 

UPDATE: And in Utah this month, a wolverine killed or wounded 18 sheep in one morning before being captured, radio-collared, and released.