This is why the Wolverines in the Midwest post is significant. It is probably the most thorough account on the Net of wolverine sightings in the Upper Midwest.
The bottom line is wolverines are not just in Michigan and North Dakota where they have been proven to exist, but they are surely in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, and even unbelievably Nebraska. I also have one sighting in Missouri, incredible as it sounds.
In my opinion, the Great Plains and the Upper Midwest used to be wolverine territory, and they are now reclaiming it. They may well even breed there, as I have sightings of kits alive and dead and two wolverines walking together, one behind the other (probably a mother and father). There are also a number of sightings of females, though I am not sure how they figured that out. I do not agree that the wolverines on the Plains are wanderers. I believe they actually live there somehow. We should get new records from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, South Dakota, Iowa and maybe even Nebraska in the forseeable future. That North Dakota wolverine was not a fluke.
The significance of this is that both the best available science and all US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) wolverine documents hypothesize that wolverines never lived in the Midwest or the East, even though we have records from all of these places. The argument is that they were wanderers or possibly never existed at all. How a wolverine wanders from Ontario, Canada to Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire is beyond me.
In 1918, a biologist spotted two young wolverines in New Hampshire. Those do not seem to be wanderers, and the biologist though they were evidence of breeding. Further, now that we are documenting so many wolverines in the Upper Midwest, the simplest explanation is not that they are all transients and wanderers, but that they actually lived there. 25 wolverines were trapped in Eastern North Dakota alone between 1801-1806. There is no way that you can trap that many wolverines in such a small area unless they are a resident population.
The USFWS, wolverine biologists, and the Wolverine Foundation all state there never was a resident wolverine population in the Midwest or the East.
I do not know the motives of the Wolverine Foundation, but I know that some of these environmental groups actually get angry when they see their favored species expanding out of its known range. Why? Because they are trying to get the thing listed as endangered! If it is expanding its range, maybe it is not rare enough to be listed, get it? They actually want these animals to be rare and they are not happy when they appear to be more common. Sort of the law of unintended consequences.
I wonder what the motivation is for USFWS saying that wolverines never lived in the Midwest or back East. Possibly because that would extend their historic range that much further, so whereas now we maybe say wolverines occupy 15% of their historic range, if you include all that Midwest and back East, maybe they only occupy 3% of their historic range. 3% is worse than 15% and any animal that is only occupying 3% of its historic range seems like it needs to be listed, and USFWS does not want to list them. Is that it?