Rare Wolverine Sighted by Family in Yellowstone National Park

The wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family. Despite its low stature and maximum weight of about 40 pounds, the creature has a well-deserved reputation of strength and ferocity. It also has a reputation for elusiveness. Sitings are exceptionally rare. On March 5, 2022, MacNeil Lyons—owner of Yellowstone Insight, a tour company—was guiding father-daughter duo Carl and Maya Kemp through snowy Yellowstone National Park when the trio encountered and captured on film the elusive beast.

The trio initially thought the fluffy creature on the road could be a young bear, however its movement and long fluffy tail soon revealed it to be a wolverine. Lyons—who used to be a park ranger—whipped out his camera while Kemp recorded the encounter on his phone. In a YouTube video from Kemp's account, the wolverine can be seen lolloping back and forth, even sitting down in the snow appearing to watch the humans from afar. After the creature left the road, Lyons was able to relocate to a better vantage point and capture several more stunning images of the strange creature. Maya, who is 9 years old, told a KTVQ, “It was really magical to see. Dad said that it was like the unicorn of Yellowstone. It was insane.”

In 22 years spent roaming the park, this is only Lyon's second wolverine sighting. Wolverines range hundreds of miles, traveling alone and preferring elevated forest landscapes. Only six or seven are thought to exist in the 2.2 million acres of the park. Found in Scandinavia, Russia, Canada, and the United States, the creatures are notoriously difficult to observe and study. Should you ever have the luck to see one, do not approach. They are capable of killing moose, elk, and lynxes despite their smaller stature. “This was a first and likely last time I will have such an encounter,” Lyons told Peta Pixel.

Tour guide MacNeil Lyons and father-daughter duo Carl and Maya Kemp were treated to a rare, elusive sight in Yellowstone National Park—a wild wolverine.

 

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The mammal is a solitary, powerfully muscled member of the weasel family.

A Wolverine in Sweden

A wolverine in Sweden. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Only six wolverines are thought to live in Yellowstone National Park.

h/t: [Peta Pixel, The Daily Mail]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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