Michigan’s only known wild wolverine is now on display at the visitor center at Bay City State Recreation Area.
The animal was found dead by hikers last winter at Sanilac County’s Minden State Game Area, where it had lived for much of the previous six years. The wolverine was first discovered by coyote hunters who treed it while running hounds near Bad Axe on Feb. 24, 2004.
It was the first wolverine ever verified as living in the wild in Michigan. Michigan is known as the Wolverine State because it was a center for trade in the early trapping industry and wolverine pelts from the north and west of Michigan came through the state. Biologists say that if wolverines were native to Michigan, they were extirpated about 200 years ago.
It is uncertain how the wolverine arrived in Michigan, though DNA evidence indicates it is related to animals native to Alaska.
The wolverine was mounted by Bay Port taxidermist Sandy Brown; the mount recently won an award from the state’s taxidermy association.
Park interpreter Valerie Blashcka said the display has become quite an attraction.
“It’s bringing a lot of visitors who have never been here before,” she said. “It’s really exciting.”
The visitor center, located at 3582 State Park Dr., is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.