A wolverine was spotted beside Con Place on Wednesday, near the Con Mine area.
Miranda Beck was driving with her father around 3 p.m. when they noticed a wolverine in the middle of the road.
“I didn’t notice it until my dad pointed it out. Then it ran into the bush and popped its head out and looked at us,” she said.
The animal stared at them for about 15 seconds and then disappeared into the bush.
“It was pretty big. I’ve never seen a wolverine alive. They’re a lot bigger than I thought. It was like the size of baby bear cub. My dad used to trap and he even said it was one of the largest wolverines he had seen.
“I was pretty surprised to see it so close to Yellowknife. I posted a picture (of it) on Yellowknife Classifieds on Facebook because I didn’t want a little kid to be out or any dogs in case the wolverine attacked.”
Later Wednesday evening Alicia Camille posted a 13-second video of the wolverine on Dagenais Drive to Facebook.
A Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) spokesperson Joslyn Oosenbrug said on Thursday that it received several reports of wolverines sighted in Yellowknife on Wednesday, including in the Con Mine and Frame Lake residential areas and one near Johnson Crescent.
ENR set up a live trap in the Finlayson Drive area, which is being regularly monitored.
“Yellowknife is a wilderness city, and with freeze-up, it is easier for wild animals to cover longer distances, sometimes making their way into town. Wolverines are common in the Yellowknife area; however, sightings are not common. It is much more common to see their tracks than the animal itself,” Oosenbrug said.
Wolverines generally avoid humans but might go after small dogs or cats as prey. Pet owners are advised to keep their dogs on a leash when possible.
“Wolverines will go on the offensive if they feel threatened, so it is best to give them lots of room. Do not approach them in a vehicle. This could result in unpredictable or aggressive behaviour, and will cause stress to the animal. Harassing a wild animal is against the law.”
ENR thanked the public for the reports on Wednesday night and that information helped it assess the situation.
Sightings of large wildlife within city limits should be reported as soon as possible to the North Slave Office, by calling the wildlife emergency line at 1-867-873-7181.
It has proven one wild year for animals in Yellowknife, after a wolverine was spotted at the ski club, a turtle got loose for the second time, a black bear was found roaming near Frame Lake and a grizzly bear was roaming the Giant Mine site near Vee Lake Road.
The wolverine seen at the Yellowknife Ski Club in February was said to be “huge” and “healthy.”
Wolverines are found throughout the NWT 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.
That report deemed wolverines to be not at risk.
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.