Wolverine sighting causes partial lockdown at Yellowknife middle school

A wolverine was spotted in the brush near William McDonald school grounds on Wednesday, right before students were set to leave for the day.

Students were let out the front door of the school since animal's tracks led around the back

A wolverine was spotted in this field outside William McDonald school on Wednesday. It caused a short partial lockdown situation. (Alex Brockman/CBC)

An apparent close call with a wolverine caused a minor disturbance at William McDonald school in Yellowknife Wednesday.

The animal appears to have been spotted twice in the brush near the school grounds. One sighting happened in the morning, another in the afternoon.

A conservation officer at the school told CBC News that they were looking for a reported wolverine, but it had moved off.

This undated file photo shows a wolverine in Montana's Glacier National Park. Wolverines once lived throughout North America, but their range has dwindled. They are still found throughout the Northwest Territories. (The Associated Press)

"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,'" said Darren Wicks, a physical education teacher at the school.

"I looked out on the other end of the field. It was quite dark and it was jumping," Wicks said.

"It didn't look like a fox. I said to her, 'I think it's a wolverine.' 

"If you live in the North you expect to see stuff like that. 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."

Another sighting happened in the afternoon, right before students were set to leave for the day, said Jeff Seabrook, the school's principal.

"First response was to call renewable resources. An officer happened to be around the corner. We then announced a partial lockdown and kept students in their classrooms," he said.

Students were then let out the front door of the school since the wolverine tracks were in the back of the school.

"It was mostly a curiosity," he said. "It's kids from the North. It's not a regular occurrence but it happens. Everything is under control."