Members of the Yellowknife Ski Club are used to seeing creatures moving stealthily across the snow, but they’re usually less furry than the visitor recently seen there.
A wolverine was spotted on the club’s grounds last Saturday morning by at least two people associated with the ski club.
“I was on the 10 kilometre loop near Bendicsen’s Bend and this fat, huge wolverine walked on the trail in front of me, saw me and then beat it out of there,” Sara Minogue, club spokesperson, told Yellowknifer.
“I could see its colouring and stripes. He looked healthy. It was kind of amazing. It lasted maybe a minute. He was about 3/4 of a metre (long). A bit smaller than an adult German Shepherd. It looked low to the ground, almost like a hovercraft. Its fur fans out a little.”
The club’s trails director Chris Hotson also saw the stocky carnivore and snapped a photo of it.
Wolverine sightings around the club are rare, but members have reported seeing them around in the past, and tracks in the snow were seen earlier in February.
“We know there are a lot of creatures out there but we don’t want anyone to get injured or freak out,” she said.
Sightings of the bear-like scavengers are uncommon inside Yellowknife city limits, but are more common on the outskirts of the city, said Joslyn Oosenbrug, spokesperson with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).
“The ski club is on the edge of town, as well as in close proximity to the landfill. There is a higher chance of seeing wildlife in this area, as wildlife may be feeding at the landfill. There have not been more sightings this winter compared to previous years,” she said.
When encountering any wild animals, ENR advises people to be respectful, keep their distance and stay in groups. Pets should be kept on leashes to avoid conflict with the animals.
Wildlife sightings should be reported to ENR before they’re posted to social media and Yellowknife residents can phone the North Slave Regional Office at 867-767-9238.
If wildlife are behaving in unusual or threatening ways, people are asked to contact the Yellowknife regional wildlife emergency hotline at 867-873-7181.
Wolverines are found throughout the territory in habitats including flat terrain, forests and mountains, according to a 2014 report from the NWT Species at Risk Committee of the Department of ENR.
Population numbers of the species aren’t known but it’s believed they’re stable and even increasing their range further north on Victoria and Banks islands.