UTAH

Wolverine captured in Utah and released back into wild

Mar 14, 2022, 1:50 PM | Updated: 4:22 pm
The wolverine was captured in Rich County....
The wolverine was released in the Uinta Mountains on public land. Photos courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

RANDOLPH, Utah — A wolverine spotted in Randolph, Utah was captured by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources last week. The DWR placed a GPS collar on it for tracking purposes, and released it in the Uinta Mountains.

DWR Northern Region Outreach Manager Mark Hadley said wolverines are “elusive and secretive” animals. He noted that including last week’s capture, there had only been eight confirmed sightings in Utah.

Northern Utah is part of the wolverine’s home range, according to Hadley. 

Wolverine capture

The DWR said the capture of the wolverine began Thursday morning when a sheepherder near Randolph spotted an animal attacking his sheep. The wolverine killed or injured 18 of the sheep. The animal ran west when the sheepherder got near.

Hadley said the sheepherder called the USDA’s Wildlife Services. The USDA was in the area of Rich County doing other work and was able to send a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft to search for the wolverine. It spotted the animal while flying over the area. Members of Wildlife Serviced then contacted the DWR.

The DWR said it sent biologists with two traps to the area. The sheepherder and personnel from Wildlife Services removed all of the dead sheep from the area.

A DWR biologist and a Utah Department of Agriculture trapper cut two hindquarters of a sheep placed them into two separate traps. They used the hindquarters to increase the chances of the wolverine entering the trap. 

“There was so much activity in the area that morning, I thought the wolverine would be long gone and we wouldn’t be able to catch it,” DWR Northern Region Wildlife Manager Jim Christensen said.

In the early morning of the next day, the private landowner and a sheepherder checked the traps, but only the hindquarters were in the trap. By mid-morning, a second sheepherder saw that one trap had its door down. The DWR said the wolverine inside the trap was the first caught by Utah biologists.

Measurements and tracking

The DWR said a biologist and a conservation officer from their division as well as two members of Wildlife Services took the traps and the animal to the DWR’s Ogden office. Biologists sedated the animal to take measurements, hair and blood samples, and check the animal’s teeth. The DWR said the biologists monitored the wolverine’s heart rate, temperature, and breathing throughout the tests. The DWR also said it used ice on the wolverine’s stomach and armpits to keep it cool. 

Biologists for the DWR determined the wolverine was a male between three and four years old. The animal weighed 28 pounds and measured 41 inches from its tail to the tip of its nose.

The DWR placed a collar on the wolverine’s neck before reversing the sedative’s effects.

Hadley said the GPS collar will allow the DWR to track the wolverine’s behaviors and patterns. Biologists will be able to track where the animal travels, the size of its home range, and its habitats throughout different times of the year. 

The DWR said it will use information gathered to manage wolverines in Utah; an area that’s at the very southern edge of the wolverine’s range in the U.S.

“We can start to learn a lot about wolverines here in the state that we wouldn’t be able to learn without having a collar on this animal because they’re so secretive,” said Hadley.

The DWR said it placed the wolverine back into the trap after reversing the sedative’s effects. It released the wolverine on public land on the North Slope of the Uinta Mountains on March 11.

“It’s challenging to manage an animal when it’s difficult to get information about that animal,” said Hadley. “We’re really excited because [the collar]’s going to teach us a lot about wolverines here in the state of Utah.”

Kate Davis contributed to the reporting of this article.

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

A west valley police car is pictured. Police are investigating a hit and run...
Mark Jones

Fire in West Valley City home contained to one room in basement

A fire inside a West Valley City home Friday was contained to one room in the basement, according to fire officials on scene.
20 hours ago
Both Utah rail workers and Utah farmers expressed relief that a threatened rail strike was averted ...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Union Pacific, Utah farmers, relieved threat of strike has passed

Union Pacific Railroad representatives said claims about days off, made by workers threatening to strike, were outright false.
20 hours ago
Police in Moscow, Idaho say that a person listed on the lease of the house where 4 students were fo...
Elizabeth Wolfe and Mallika Kallingal, CNN

Moscow police say 6th person on lease isn’t involved in Idaho homicides

The four Idaho homicide victims were found stabbed to death on November 13 in an off-campus house in the college town.
20 hours ago
The owners of long-time local favorite, Hell's Backbone Grill and Farm, thought they would have to ...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Fiercely self-sufficient Hell’s Backbone cafe owners turn to public for help

The Hell's Backbone Grill and Farm owners were persuaded by friends and supporters to not give up. It looks to have worked.
20 hours ago
A new Utah population estimate finds that most of the people that moved to or within Utah between J...
Simone Seikaly

Utah population update: 60K+ people have moved here since 2021

The Utah population spike noted this year is the greatest increase in 16 years. However, growth is expected to decline going forward.
20 hours ago
Utah's film festival...
Elizabeth Weiler

Utah’s film festival screens an all-Utah cast for Marylin Monroe film

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — Aa film with an all-Utah cast and crew  has been selected by Utah’s Film Festival for a screening, part of the festival’s monthly screening series.  “Marilyn Monroe’s Last Press Conference”, is an independent film written and directed by Frank H. Cutler of Thunderbolt Alley Productions. According to Thunderbolt Alley Film, the […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Wolverine captured in Utah and released back into wild