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Although it caused quite a sensation, Port Moody has only had one known wolverine sighting.

In October, 2003, a resident on Clarke Road spotted what was believed to be a badger under a car, but after a quick assessment, it was determined the animal was a wolverine.

Port Moody's wolverine was eventually caught by three staff members from the SPCA who brought the 15.6kg (34lb) animal to the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. (WRA) on Burnaby Lake.

Liz Thunstrom, Chair of the WRA Animal Care Committee, said the wolverine was likely looking for a safe place to hide. This was possibly the same one that had been spotted in North Vancouver over the summer. Swimming across Burrard Inlet would not have been a problem for the animal.

After noticing the wolverine didn't put any pressure on his right leg, it was determined the wolverine had a contracted biceps tendon, probably the result of an old injury. After consultation with local veterinarians and the Province of B.C. the WRA opted to go ahead with surgery.

Veterinary surgeon, Dr. Mark Smith volunteered his services for the procedure and was assisted by Dr. MacQuisten and Dr. Judith Siegert. In addition, dental specialist Dr. Loic Legendre gave the wolverine some dental work.

After recuperating, the wolverine was released north of Coquitlam Lake. Three deer carcasses and several dead birds were also left as short-term food sources.

Janice Dickie, WRA executive director, said that the suspense was palpable as a release team member opened the cage door. The wolverine dashed from the cage and used the previously injured leg as he ran into the forest. "This is the moment we have been anticipating for weeks," said Dickie. "This is the heart of what wildlife rehabilitation is all about."

In July, 2004 a sad end to this story unfolded when a dead wolverine was found on the beach of Port Moody Inlet near Mossom Creek (just east of Ioco Townsite). The animal was eventually brought back to Wildlife Rescue in Burnaby. It was quickly determined that this was the same wolverine: it had shorter fur on one leg where the surgery occurred, it had some dental work done, and it had a microchip.

An autopsy determined the wolverine had extensive injuries to its head and neck, likely as a result of an encounter with another predator. While we have no way of knowing exactly what happened, the bite and claw marks are indicative of a cougar attack. Wolverines are fierce animals and a violent encounter with a cougar, bear or another wolverine would not be unusual.

The Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. is a not-for-profit wildlife rehabilitation society located near Burnaby Lake. If you find an animal in distress or are interested in volunteering call 604.526.7275 or visit their website.

 

wolverine

A male wolverine undergoes surgery for a tendon injury and some dental work.  

 

Last updated: 28/09/2011 2:08:35 PM