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Did wolverines ever live in Michigan?

A wolverine in a field (Wikipedia Commons)
A wolverine in a field (Wikipedia Commons)

We received this question about traffic stops through our 4YI form, where you can ask us anything about Michigan and/or Metro Detroit and we will do our best to get back with an answer(s).

Question:

“Did wolverines ever live in Michigan?”

Answer:

Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Communications and Education Coordinator Hannah Schauer said if wolverines were ever native to Michigan, they were pushed out over 200 years ago. Michigan’s only known wolverine is on display at the visitor center at Bay City State park and it was the first wolverine ever verified living in the wild in Michigan, she said. It’s unknown how the wolverine arrived in Michigan, but Schauer said DNA evidence suggests it was related to animals native to Alaska.

In 2004, a biologist confirmed the sighting of a wolverine in Ubly, 90 miles north of Detroit. In 2010, the body of a wolverine was discovered submerged near a beaver dam, but there haven’t been any confirmed sightings since the death of that wolverine.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the wolverine resembles a small bear with a bushy tail. They’re typically located in the North Cascades in Washington state and in the northern Rocky Mountains in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming. Fish and Wildlife Services have the wolverine listed as a threatened species -- meaning they’re vulnerable to endangerment in the future.

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