GR: The pointless killing of this special individual from a rare species indicates just how total is our threat to nature.
M56 never made it to the silver screen, but he fascinated millions, trekking hundreds of miles and bringing much-needed attention to the plight of wolverines.
“His movements were first recorded in Wyoming in 2008. He took off in 2009, heading south for hundreds of miles. He traveled across inhospitable lands looking for a place he might fit in and finally settled in Colorado. He wandered around Colorado for years, then headed north once again, possibly up to Montana. He trekked east across flat lands and found himself in North Dakota.
“This is no tale of a wandering, fugitive human, following some wanderlust or trying to find a job. This is M56. He’s a wolverine, the largest (and arguably the toughest) member of the weasel family. These fearless scavengers are incredible — they can drive grizzly bears and wolves away from carcasses, and have been documented climbing 5,000 vertical feet in the middle of winter in less than two hours. M56 was an ambassador for his species, captivating the entire state of Colorado with hope of a reestablished wolverine population, and inspiring all who learned of his immense travels and ability to traverse unlikely habitat. Sadly, wolverine M56’s remarkable life and unbelievable journey ended a few weeks ago near Alexander, North Dakota, where he was killed by a ranch hand who didn’t recognize what M56 was and thought he could threaten livestock.”