BURTON, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's lone wild wolverine - the first confirmed since the 1800s - is taking a farewell tour.
The stuffed and mounted animal is hitting Monroe and the Flint and Saginaw areas in the new year before "retiring" at the Saginaw Bay Visitors Center at the Bay City State Recreation Area. Stops include the Courtland Center mall in Burton, Castle Museum in Saginaw and the Monroe County Historical Museum, MLive.com reported Friday.
The exhibit featuring the animal discovered alive about a decade ago in the Thumb region has been crisscrossing the state, including a stop at the Capitol. But park manager George Lauinger said the wolverine's tour requires a special truck and other resources.
This file photo provided by Jeff Ford shows a female wolverine in the Minden City State Game Area in Michigan's Thumb area. The wolverine’s carcass was discovered by a couple hiking through the game area in late winter 2010. MLive.com reported Friday the stuffed, mounted wolverine is hitting Monroe and the Flint and Saginaw areas in the new year before 'retiring' at the Saginaw Bay Visitors Center at the Bay City State Recreation Area. (AP photo)
"It's an enormous expense on our part transporting it and bringing it back," he said.
Still, officials aren't ruling out a coming-out-of-retirement command performance or two; Lauinger said the Department of Natural Resources could honor a future request for a tour or special museum exhibit.
Wildlife experts don't know for sure how the female wolverine arrived in Michigan.
What: Michigan's last wild Wolverine
When: Died in 2010
Where: Will "retire" in Saginaw
Wolverines are the largest land-living members of the weasel family. Until 2004, the last known Michigan sightings of wild wolverines were in the early 1800s. Their reputation as fierce hunters led to their selection as a mascot for Michigan and the University of Michigan's sports teams, despite the state's lack of native wolverines.
In 2004, coyote hunters spotted the wolverine about 90 miles north of Detroit. It lived primarily in the Minden City State Game Area in Sanilac County, where it was discovered by hikers in 2010. No others have been sighted.
Lauinger said it was a stroke of good luck that the animal's body was found.
"When something like that happens, you need to come upon the body within hours of the death of the animal," he said. "We were fortunate the body was found so soon after that."