The last time wolverines were known to live in Colorado, Theodore Roosevelt had just died and women had not yet won the right to vote. But now, 90 years later, researchers using radio tracking devices have followed a wolverine into the state.
The scientists concede that the return of one animal to a species’ ancient range is hardly cause for jubilation. “Somewhat of an anomaly,” Rick Kahn, an official in the Colorado Division of Wildlife, called it in a statement.
But the researchers hope their efforts to track the young male, designated M56, will help explain why only an estimated 250 to 500 wolverines remain in the lower 48 states and what their fate might be in the face of development and climate change.
Wolverines live in Alaska and Canada, and “we know they used to be in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, California and Washington,” said Robert M. Inman, who directs the Greater Yellowstone Wolverine Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the organization that also runs the Bronx Zoo.