Caught on camera: Wolverine spotted in Utah for 1st time in 35 years

Image of wolverine in Utah's Uinta Mountains from the Division of Wildlife Resources

Image of wolverine in Utah’s Uinta Mountains from the Division of Wildlife Resources

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SALT LAKE CITY -- An animal that hasn't been seen in 35 years in Utah was recently captured on camera in the Uinta Mountains.

Trial cameras snapped the pictures of a wolverine in February, but the images weren't seen until recently because the cameras weren't retrieved until late in this spring.

The sighting has Utah wildlife experts excited, "This just shows that we still have a habitat for them to make a comeback," says Kim Hersey of the Division of Wildlife Resources.

It's the first documented sighting of a Wolverine in the state since a carcass of one was found in 1979.

Biologists are going to compare the images with pictures of a wolverine spotted in Wyoming to find out if it's the same animal.

Wolverines  have lived in the mountains of Colorado in the past, but there are no breeding populations in the state currently. A lone wolverine made his way into Colorado from Wyoming in June 2009. He lived primarily in the Rocky Mountain National Park area but there has been no signal from the radio devices implanted on him since 2012. Wolverines disappeared from Colorado in 1919.

The wolverine resembles a small bear with a bushy tail.  It has a broad, rounded head, short, rounded ears and small eyes.  Each foot has five toes with curved, semi-retractile claws used for digging and climbing. An adult male can grow to 26-40 pounds.

Experts estimate there are 250-650 of the animals in the lower 48 states, mostly in the northwestern part of the country.


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