Note: Repost from the old blog.
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 86 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the state of Wyoming. Wolverines in Wyoming do not seem to be in very good shape, but there are increasing sightings in recent years, and a few have been trapped and road-killed. Further, they seem to be expanding their range.
In Wyoming, wolverines are mostly found in the northwest near Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, where the population at least appears sustainable, particularly in and around Yellowstone.
However, there was a sighting in the Medicine Bow Mountains in Southeastern Wyoming in 1991.
In 1996, a wolverine was accidentally trapped near the town of Horse Creek, east of the Laramie Mountains and northwest of Cheyenne.
I spoke with a man recently here in California who saw and heard a wolverine underneath a cabin where he was staying with his sons at 10,000 feet on Cloud Peak in the Bighorn Mountains near Sheridan, Wyoming. The wolverine was rummaging around under the cabin for hours and later was gnawing up a nearby woodpile. The sighting occurred in 1996.
There was a 1997 sighting from the Bighorn Mountains, a range in North-central Wyoming on the Montana border that extends south to near the town of Sheridan.
In March 1998, a wolverine killed several sheep east of Buffalo, which is east of the Bighorn Mountains.
A young wolverine was captured only two miles north of Cheyenne, Wyoming, the state capital, in 1998. Cheyenne is a city of 53,000 people.
A wolverine was killed by a car along Highway 30 in 2004 near Fossil Butte National Monument near where Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho all come together.
There are also sightings from the Wyoming Range in Far Western Wyoming south of Jackson Hole.
In 2005, a female wolverine was being monitored in the Salt River Range along the Idaho border. She was also using the Wyoming Mountains. The Salt River Range is next to the Wyoming Mountains.
Wolverines also are thought to live in the Tetons and the Gros Ventre Range south of Yellowstone and in the Absaroka Range east of Yellowstone near Cody. Jackson Hole is located in the Gros Ventres.
A couple of wolverines were documented on the Wind River Range about 75 miles southeast of Jackson Hole near Lander in recent surveys.
In general, wolverines in Wyoming are thought to be in poor shape. They seem to be slowly recovering territory and spreading out into new areas. One reason for this may be that the large wolf population in Yellowstone is providing a good source of carrion for wolverines with all of the ungulates that they are killing. Another reason may be much less broad-spectrum predator poisoning in the state in the past few decades.
- Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a rule to list the wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the contiguous United States. Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
- Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo).