The wolverine killed in North Dakota that sparked national news attention actually wandered all the way from Colorado.
Recently, Senior Writer Brad Smith covered the killing of the first wolverine spotted in North Dakota in a century. In a plot twist to end all plot twists, it was confirmed that the wolverine killed was actually a wolverine that was tagged and researched in Colorado.
Known as Wolverine M56, the furbearer was originally found in Wyoming in 2008 where game officials were able to fit him with a tracking device for future research. In 2009, he wandered south to good ol’ Colorado and has lived there since at least 2012. As the Denver Post reported, it was then “when the device stopped transmitting.”
From 2012 to 2016, his location was unknown – until the news of his death made national headlines. After contacting North Dakota, Colorado officials confirmed through a necropsy that the wolverine was in fact M56, a healthy 8- to 9-year-old male wolverine.
As Jeb Williams, division chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, stated, “There wasn’t much in its stomach at the time, but it appeared to be in good condition and healthy as far as we could tell.” How the wolverine made its way to North Dakota, we will never, but it’s an exceptional road trip.
M56 will remain forever in a furbearer exhibit in North Dakota Game and Fish’s headquarters and he is the wolverine ever to be housed there. This story has drummed up more information on the protection status of wolverines since his untimely death while he was harassing livestock.
There are sure to be more conversations about M56 and what his death means for the status of wolverines nationwide.