Rare wolverine sighting caught on video in Utah. Now, biologists can’t find it

·2 min read

Wolverines hadn’t been seen in Utah since 2016 — until now.

Antelope Island State Park in Syracuse is home to many desert animals. Bison, mule deer and bighorn sheep all call the park home. Wolverines never made that list, but a video shows one wandering the vast desert landscape in broad daylight.

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The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources posted video Wednesday that shows the extremely rare wolverine spotting.

“We received a report on the evening of May 4 of a wolverine that had been spotted earlier that day on the northwest end of Antelope Island near the Bridger Bay Campground,” wildlife officials said on Facebook. “Photos and video were posted to Facebook, and our biologists confirmed that the footage looks like a wolverine.”

Biologists tried to locate the creature, but they had no luck. The ground at Antelope Island is too hard, so the wolverine didn’t leave tracks.

Wolverines are typically found in the high mountains, not in Utah, wildlife officials said. There have only been a handful of sightings in the state.

The animal is so elusive, wildlife officials don’t know how many wolverines are in Utah.

“Wolverines are very rare to see because they are largely nocturnal, and they travel quickly, typically not staying in one area long enough to be found or seen,” Wildlife Conservation Biologist Adam Brewerton said in a news release. “We believe this wolverine sighted on Antelope Island is just passing through since Antelope Island does not have suitable habitat.”

Wolverines hunt many different kinds of animals and scavenge carcasses, the Division of Wildlife Resources said. They’re not an endangered or threatened species, but they are protected in Utah.

There have only been a handful of wolverine sightings in the state. The last confirmed wolverine sighting in the state was June 29, 2016, when a female wolverine carcass was found after it was hit by a car.

In 2014, wolverine tracks were found and a wolverine was spotted in a photo. Before that, a wolverine was found dead in 1979.

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