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Wolverine killed in North Dakota came from western states

BISMARCK, N.D. — A wolverine that was shot and killed by a western North Dakota rancher spent time during its life in at least two western states.

The wolverine killed last month when it was harassing livestock in McKenzie County was the first confirmed in North Dakota in more than a century. The last one was during the fur-trading era of the mid-1800s, according to North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department.

The wolverine was a male that was 8 or 9 years old. A radio tracking device that was installed in the animal’s abdomen in 2008 in Wyoming when it was captured south of Yellowstone National Park showed the wolverine’s last known location was in Colorado in 2012. The device’s battery likely gave out after that.

“That little critter’s put on a lot of miles,” State Wildlife Chief Jeb Williams told The Bismarck Tribune.

The closest population of wolverines is in the mountains of neighboring Montana and the forests of northern Canada. Male wolverines are known to travel great distances in search of habitat, food or other wolverines, according to Game and Fish. There is no evidence to suggest a population of wolverines in North Dakota, furbearer biologist Stephanie Tucker told the Tribune.

The rancher who killed the wolverine acted within the law, which allows state residents to kill wild furbearers to protect livestock or crops, Game and Fish said. Bears are the only exception.

The wolverine will be mounted and displayed in a furbearer exhibit at Game and Fish headquarters in Bismarck.