The first wolverine seen in North Dakota in nearly 150 years was shot and killed by a rancher last month.

North Dakota’s First Wolverine In 150 Years Killed By Rancher

The rancher reportedly said the animal had been harassing livestock when he shot it, which would make it a legal kill.

The rancher “came out to a calving pasture and the cows had surrounded the wolverine and he felt it was a threat,” biologist Stephanie Tucker told Helena Independent Record.

The wolverine, known to wildlife officials as M56, traveled about 500 miles from Wyoming to Colorado back in 2009.

The wolverine’s collar stopped transmitting in 2012, and he was shot about 700 miles from where he was last seen.

In some ways it’s a little mind-blowing that they can travel that far,” Bob Inman, a wolverine biologist with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, told the Billings Gazette. “But that’s what we’re learning is possible.”

A necropsy found M56 was between eight and nine years old, at the far end of the six to ten year life expectancy of the animals.

It had a good run,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Matt Robbins told the Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction, Colorado.

“It could have just naturally expired and we would have never known its fate, but now we know that much more about the animal and how far it eventually did travel,” Robbins explained.

Rebecca Watters of the Wolverine Blog posted a memorial to M56 earlier this week, praising the animal and expressing her sadness at his death.

He was a genuinely famous wolverine, people were inspired by his story, and I’m caught between astonishment that he had gone all the way to North Dakota – North Dakota! – and sadness at his end,” Watters wrote.

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