Guide service Yellowstone Insight shared some exciting news on their Facebook page over the weekend. They encountered an extremely rare wolverine while traveling through Yellowstone National Park.
There’s only estimated to be around 7-10 wolverines in the entire park. Encountering one in broad daylight like this is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Check out the awesome photos and videos captured by Yellowstone Insight below.
You can tell from their words how exciting this encounter must have been!
“With only 6-7 wolverine inside Yellowstone National Park (conservative estimate), we felt beyond elated at this chance encounter with this elusive creature. About 11:38 a.m. yesterday we rounded the corner heading westbound and in the on coming lane was a low-to-the-ground, dark animal loping away from us. My guest said out loud, exactly what I was thinking, “Is that a bear?”… For a hot second, we both thought that it might be a young black bear moving away from us, but as it turned and looked over its right shoulder towards us – there was no mistaking that the animal was indeed, a Wolverine!
With no other vehicles around, we were able to spend 3 full minutes in the presence of this unique and rare animal. By its size, I assume that it is a healthy male. The wolverine was curious for a bit. It jumped onto the snow berm adjacent our lane twice and returned to the road to size us up as our vehicle was stopped, idle.”
2006–2009: seven documented in eastern Yellowstone and adjoining national forests (two females, five males).
Size and Behavior:
- 38–47 inches long, 13–31 pounds.
- Opportunistic eaters. Eat burrowing rodents, birds, eggs, beavers, squirrels, marmots, mice, and vegetation (including whitebark pine nuts).
- Active year-round, intermittently throughout the day.
- Breed April to October; one litter of 2–4 young each year. Females give birth in dens excavated in snow.
- Den in deep snow, under log jams, and uprooted trees in avalanche chutes.
- Mostly solitary except when breeding.
- In August 2014, the US Fish and Wildlife Service withdrew a proposal to list wolverines living in the lower 48 states as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
- Due to uncertainty of the effects of climate change on wolverines and their habitat in the foreseeable future, plans to list the species are on hold.
More info about Yellowstone Insight:
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MacNeil Lyons has 20 years of experience guiding and exploring in Yellowstone National Park with a passion for sharing his knowledge of the natural and cultural resources found throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The focus of MacNeil and his company is rooted in the simple concept of instilling an appreciation of preserving the world’s natural resources for future generations.
All images credit: Yellowstone Insight