More California Wolverine Photos in the Sierra

Note: Repost from the old blog.

Following up on our earlier post on the first positive detection of a California wolverine since 1922, that sighting led an interagency group of researchers on an intensive hunt for wolverines in the area, and that hunt has now revealed an incredible two new photos of wolverines in the area north of Tahoe.

A side view of a wolverine in a photo from 10 days ago probably taken within 15-20 miles of the original photo location at Sagehen Creek in the Tahoe National Forest. That is a hair trap that used to have some bait on it, but the bait was eaten by some other animal. The photo indicates that this is a wolverine all right. It can’t be anything else.

It is not known if the three photos depict one, two or three separate wolverines, but this is great news.

The interagency team consisted of researchers from the Forest Service, California Department of Fish and Game

and Katie Moriarty, the Oregon State University grad student who took the original shot. A 150 square mile around the original was identified, and the search was concentrated in that grid. Hair snares with remote cameras were set up.

Dogs specially trained to identify wolverine scat were loosed on the area. Ground searches looked for wolverine tracks. Planes flew overhead looking for radio telemetry signals from wolverines that had been fitted with radio collars in Montana, but no Montana animals were found. Consultations were also made with wolverine experts in Montana, Idaho and Washington.

About 50 hair and scat samples were found and sent to a special Forest Service lab to determine if they were from a wolverine, and if so, if it was a California wolverine, the specific subspecies that inhabits the area. The tests will also try to determine the animal’s sex. I am almost certain that there is a breeding population of California wolverines in this area.

Long term, the DFG plans more studies of wolverines in the Sierras, and hopes to combine them with studies of the extremely rare Sierra Nevada red fox (Vulpes vulpes necator).

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15 thoughts on “More California Wolverine Photos in the Sierra”

  1. I work at :The Sequoia High Sierra Camp: in the Sequoia national forest.This is a seasonal job. Last winter a wolverine got into our kitchen and destroyed it,we know it was a wolverine because we found the poor fella dead {got trapped in kitchen with no water} the first person up for the season found him and took the body to fish and game. I am working on seeing if pictures exist. I saw one on Lembert dome in Yosemite about 13 years ago and the rangers tried to tell me it was a marmet.. I don’t think
    so !there gait is unmistakable nothing like a marmet.

  2. I observed a wolverine in the Evolution Valley approximately 30 years ago. It was not a case of mistaken identity. It was close; and I had a chance to watch it for over 60 seconds. The idea that Fed/State officials persist in claiming that (we) are seeing marmots is preposterous.

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