You know you’re in the Great White North when a middle school is locked down due to a wolverine sighting.
After a reported close call with the fierce animal, officials at Yellowknife’s William McDonald School announced a partial lockdown.
The wolverine was spotted multiple times that day, first in the morning by Darren Wicks, a physical education teacher at the school.
“My daughter and I arrived around 7 a.m. I was grabbing stuff out of my vehicle and Emma called out ‘look Dad, it’s a fox,’” Wicks told CBC News.
When he glanced over to the other end of the field, he noticed a dark-looking animal bounding across it. He knew it couldn’t be a fox, so he told his daughter that it must be a wolverine.
“If you live in the North you expect to see stuff like that,” Wicks said. “For the majority of us here that do go out on the land you see these types of things a lot. I’m sure someone in Toronto would have reacted a lot differently.”
The second sighting, however, was taken a little more seriously. The wolverine was spotted again that afternoon, just as the students were getting ready to leave for the day.
Jeff Seabrook, the school’s principal, told CBC News that their first response was to call the Environment and Natural Resources department. Then they announced a partial lockdown and kept the students in their classrooms.
When the property was clear, students were let out of the school’s front door, since the wolverine tracks were discovered out back.
Although it may sound like strong precautions for an animal that’s smaller than some dogs, wolverines are powerful predatory creatures that have been known to take down deer, sheep, small bears and, given the right snow conditions, even moose. They also elicit a potent smell to mark territory, and when something’s given the nickname “skunk bear,” you probably don’t want to be around it.