It happened in Ubly, one of Michigan's smallest Thumb towns back in February of 2004: a wild wolverine was spotted running out of the woods and loping through a field. And no, this sighting was not a hoax by someone looking for publicity: the report was made by a wildlife biologist from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. What's the big deal about spotting a wolverine in Michigan, the “Wolverine State”? It's because the last time anyone saw one was 200 years earlier in the late 1700s or early 1800s.

According to NBC News, the wolverine - cousin to the weasel - gets up to about 25 pounds and can be so ferocious, they have been known to get into fights with wolves and bears...and walk away. Wolverines are now occasionally seen by residents in Alaska, Canada, and Idaho to name a few places...but Michigan's wolverines were last seen by old-time fur traders over two centuries ago.

Where has the wolverine been all this time? Hiding? Hibernating? Did it walk all the way here, did someone out west capture some and set them free in Michigan? And why in Ubly, a town of less than one thousand people? The gallery below shows you a few wolverine photos and vintage images of the town of Ubly going back over 100+ years.

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The wolverine seen in Ubly was tracked for years until it passed away in 2010. It was stuffed and put on display in the Bay City State Recreation Area (to see photos of the actual wolverine spotted in Ubly, go here). As far as anyone knows, there are no more wild wolverines in Michigan.

One final note: After wolverines were made an endangered species, by the time the 1990s rolled around, conservationists believed this animal would never return and took it off the list.


Wolverine Spotted in Michigan After 200 Years


The Wolves of Michigan

Detroit Wolverines, 1880s

Wolverine Soap Company, Portland, Mi.

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