The New South Africa Is Incapable of Protecting Its Wildlife

Here.
Absolutely disgusting what this stupid post-apartheid government is doing with its rhinos. There is nothing environmentalist about this move. 500 of South Africa’s rhinos will be sold to private buyers!? Well, obviously those are trophy hunters who will kill them. What’s the point of that. How is that an environmental move that will protect the rhinos?
No poacher ever goes to jail or prison in the new South Africa. They pay a fine (bribe) to the judge and get out and then go back to the part of Kruger National Park that is in Mozambique where they camp out and go back to poaching. The South African government allows them to stay there and does nothing about it.
The new South African government is amazingly corrupt.
Apartheid was terrible, but at least the Whites ran a functioning country. These Blacks don’t seem to be able to run a modern country.

Stop the House Interior Funding Bill

A mail I got from the Defenders of Wildlife, a group I support. I don’t really understand why environmentalists vote Republican. If you’re an environmentalist who votes Republican, why don’t you tell us what’s going through your head. The Republican Party is a viciously, savagely, brutally anti-environmental party, and they have been for 30 years now, since Reagan.

If you like to fish and hunt, why vote Republican? I don’t get it. Fishing and hunting depends on open, clean and wild areas for the fish and animals to live in. Republicans destroy rivers and lakes and wreck any wild land that they can find.

Now, if you’re an anti-environmentalist and vote rightwing, I respect that. You are a man of principles, and you are sticking to them. But a fisherman, a hunter, and environmentalist, who votes rightwing? You need to have your head examined.

Denham, the guy who wants to kill the restoration of the salmon run in the San Joaquin River, is my congressman. He’s as reactionary as they come; he’s more or less a Tea Partier. People don’t understand California. The Whites here (and some of the others) are very rightwing. The only liberals are on the coast. Inland, in the Central Valley, the Inland Empire, the Great Basin, the North Coast, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades is very White and very, very rightwing. By the way, all of this slashing and cutting is being done under the rubric of deficit reduction.

The House of Representatives has left town for their summer recess, but not before unveiling a barrage of new anti-wildlife provisions in the Interior spending bill.

These provisions threaten wild Mexican gray wolves and endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles with extinction and pose a significant threat of increased injury and death for gentle manatees.

We must stop them.

Some in Congress seem bound and determined to unravel basic protections for some of our most vulnerable wildlife…

* Extinct Mexican gray wolves. Republican Representative Steve Pearce (NM) has introduced an amendment to end lobo recovery efforts, essentially dooming the 50 remaining Mexican gray wolves in the wild to extinction.
* Crushed sea turtles. Republican Representative Blake Farenthold (TX) has proposed blocking efforts to reduce the speed limits on beaches where threatened and endangered sea turtles – already reeling from the effects of last year’s BP oil disaster – nest.
* Wounded manatees. Boat strikes are one of the leading causes of death for Florida’s threatened manatees, but Republican Representative Richard Nugent (FL) wants to block a Fish and Wildlife Service rule to prevent boat collisions and end the hazing of these gentle sea cows.
* Dead salmon. Representative Republican Jeff Denham (CA) has introduced an amendment to block restoration of salmon in the San Joaquin River.
* A path to extinction for lesser prairie chickens and dunes sagebrush lizards. Republican Representatives Pearce (NM) and Randy Neugebauer (TX) are fighting to prohibit vital Endangered Species Act protections for these highly vulnerable animals.
* A lawless border zone. Republican Representatives Paul Gosar (AZ) and Rob Bishop (UT) have proposed amendments that would exempt the border patrol from laws and regulations that protect imperiled wildlife and federal conservation lands like our national parks and wildlife refuges.

But that’s not all. The bill also proposes deep cuts in funding for our National Wildlife Refuges and key conservation programs to keep our imperiled wildlife and wild lands safe.

An Examination of the Frog Extinction Epidemic

Repost from the old site.
Although many factors are involved in this epidemic, one of the worst is the Chytrid fungus epidemic. It is being spread by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), which causes chytridiomycosis. This fungal disease is devastating frog populations all over the world, but particularly in Australia, and North, Central and South America.
The devastation in Central America has been particularly acute, with many species simply vanishing from the face of the Earth. Bd is just now spreading here in the US, with serious devastation of Sierra Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog populations in the Sierra Nevada. However, some populations are apparently surviving the epidemic with some some survivors intact and thereupon rebuilding their populations.
A paper in Nature (Pounds 2006) made the case that the chytrid epidemic was being driven by global warming. They suggested that Bd had always been there but had only become pathogenic in the face of global warming.
A new paper (Lips 2008) in the journal PLoS Biology challenged that theory with some interesting data. I did not read the Pounds paper, but the Lips paper was quite convincing.
Their argument is rather simple. If Bd had always been there, it would not show a spread rate typical of a spreading disease epidemic. Instead, it would tend to erupt in all places at once.
Lips’ team showed first of all that Bd had not always been in the environment, that is, it was not an endemic. It appears to have escaped from an Australian lab around 1970 and from there spread through Australia. From Australia, it made its way to the Americas.
We can see several places where it seems to have been introduced, and we can plot the years of introduction on a map. So Bd is acting like an invasive alien species.

Bd appears in Costa Rica in 1987 and then heads south to Panama. It seems to be following mountain ranges there too. The number of species lost in Costa Rica is very large.
Bd spread in South America following two introductions, one in 1977 and one in 1980. The 1980 Ecuadorian introduction heads both north and south along the Andes. The 1977 Venezuelan introduction heads south along the Andes. For some reason, Bd in South America is sticking to the Andes.

This is precisely how we would expect an epidemic following an introduction by an alien species to operate – a geographical spread from a point of introduction with a rate of spread in miles per year. Furthermore, the testing of many specimens in museums failed to find Bd in any of them prior to 1977. This suggests strongly that Bd is an invasive alien fungus that was not present in the environment before.
An alternative hypothesis was not tested but did occur to me: That even though Bd was an alien exotic invasive fungus spreading after accidental introduction, global warming had somehow made Bd much more lethal to frogs. I can’t figure out a way to test that hypothesis, and I guess none of the researchers are considering it. The Pounds team is sticking to their guns on this one, but I think that they are wrong.
It’s a good mind exercise to read academic science journal articles that test scientific hypotheses against competing hypotheses. It’s hard to read that stuff, but if you can get through it somehow, personally I find these brain puzzles to be a lot of fun. If you see learning as virtually a sensual activity as I do, this kind of stuff is almost as fun as a vacation, sports, sex or any other other purely sensual activity.
Learning and thinking is actually a blast, to me anyway. Try it sometime!

References

Lips, Karen R., Diffendorfer, Jay, Mendelson III, Joseph R., Sears, Michael W. 2008. Riding the Wave: Reconciling the Roles of Disease and Climate Change in Amphibian Declines. PLoS Biology 6:3.
Pounds JA, Bustamante MR, Coloma LA, Consuegra JA, Fogden MPL, et al. 2006. Widespread amphibian extinctions from epidemic disease driven by global warming. Nature 39: 161–167.

China Turns Towards Maoism

This is an interesting article about a turn to the Left among some factions of the CCP in China, particularly a revival of Maoism. Though the article, as usual for Asia Times, has an anti-Mao bent, it’s nevertheless good news. Interestingly enough, much of the movement is coming from younger cadre. Another faction is the sons and daughters of the veterans of the Long March.

The turn towards Maoism takes many forms, and many are not necessarily economic. It’s interesting that in China now, privatization is working backwards. That is, state firms are swallowing up many private firms. And most of last year’s stimulus went to state firms.

What most people don’t realize is that much of China’s economic revival is being led by public firms of one type or another. These firms are often owned at least nominally by local municipalities, often smaller ones, and labor collectives.

The #3 manufacturer of televisions in the world, maker of TV’s for many multinational TV makers, is a publicly owned firm. At root is a Maoist practice whereby many or most public firms are actually formally owned by the workers, including this TV firm. Management is still relatively autonomous, but the profits from the firm go straight into the worker’s pockets as paychecks. However, my understanding is that they are required to reinvest 90-95% of the profits back into company. What’s left over is often a hefty sum though.

Firms run by small cities have been extremely successful. Cities compete with each other and build homes and other amenities for workers. The best firms make lots of money and the workers as formal owners get to take home a chunk of it. The most successful firms have long lists of workers wanting to move to these prosperous cities. Much of this manufactured material is also exported.

What’s funny is that that Made In China product you bought at the store may well have been made by a public firm. Oh, the horrors of socialism!

Although hardline Maoists decry China’s present economic project, saying that they have abandoned socialism for capitalism, that’s not really true.

If you go outside the cities into the rural areas, such as the wild areas, all of that land is owned by the state. Although the state has had problems in the environmental arena, in many cases the state stewards wildlands well. If that land were all privately owned, I assure you most of it would be developed with an eye towards profit or habitation. China’s wildlands and wild species would be in much worse shape than they are now, and on a worldwide scale, China is not a center of mass extinctions or endangered species.

It is capitalist countries, mostly rainforest ones, such as Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Philippines, Madagascar and Mexico that are leading the extinction and endangerment epidemic, not China.

The Nepalese Maoists have gone to China’s rural collectives and come back with smiles on their faces. Compared to Nepal, China seems like a socialist paradise. The same could be said for India. China’s people are much better off than India’s in a socialist manner of speaking.

Nevertheless, it is simply outrageous that in China, people are dying because they cannot afford healthcare. That’s really disgusting. The state has been trying to extend insurance to the masses, and state insurance is for sale that covers 85% of expenses, but it’s too expensive for most Chinese.

Much of the progress in education that was made during the Cultural Revolution, especially in the rural areas (and incredible progress was made) has, incredibly, been in a process of reversal. Schools are being shut down in rural areas all over China. This is the damned economic miracle you capitalist-lovers are raving about. Tastes more like crow to me.

Furthermore, China continues to support North Korea, and North Korea is the source of most of Iran’s missiles. This blog supports the efforts of both North Korea and Iran to obtain nuclear weapons as deterrents, but hopefully not to use them.

North Korea’s nukes are the subject of a lot of misinformation. Yes they have a working nuclear device, but I think it is only a small one, maybe 15% as large as the Hiroshima bomb. They’ve had a hard time detonating bigger bombs. They seem to have several of these, maybe 5-10. North Korea also has working missiles, but they’ve had a hard time making long range missiles that go much further than Japan. A lot of these are just failing. Furthermore, I do not believe that they have figured out how to put a nuclear device onto a missile and detonate it.

People don’t understand nuclear missiles at all. First, it’s hard as Hell to make one. Next, it’s very hard to make good rockets that go 1000’s of miles with good accuracy. Third and most important, once you get the bomb, it is a whole matter altogether to figure out how to stick the thing onto a missile in such a way that it detonates on landing when firing the rocket. This is called weaponizing the warhead. It’s a whole new ballgame. Many states have had nuclear programs that have aborted or run aground at one or the other of these phases.

All in all, the movement towards Maoism in China is great news!

아프리카에서 사자에게 잡아먹힌 남자

[wpvideo eVYcHmc7]

I am looking for translators to translate this post into Spanish and German. Email me if you are interested.

This is a Korean translation of the Man Gets Eaten By Lion in Africa post. The translator is 넝근넝근. He does fantastic work.

대부분의 사람들은 이 비디오가 가짜라고 주장한다, 사실 그 주장은 사실이다.

이 비디오가 1970년대 중반 아프리카 사파리에서 촬영된 유명한 비디오이며 저 관광객은 런던에서 온것 처럼 보인다. 또 이 비디오가 법정의 증거로서 보험회사가 저 남자의 생명보험을 거부할 증거로 이 비디오자료를 사용하곤 했으며 보험회사는 저 남자가 “자기 무덤 판 꼴” 이라며 보험료 지불을 거부하겠다라고 주장한 증거자료가 바로 이 비디오라는 이야기이다.

사실, 이 비디오와 저 이야기는 사실이 아니다. 저 사고가 70년대 후반 앙골라의 Wallasee National Park에서 일어났다고 한다. 저런 장소는 앙골라다 아프리카 어디에도 없다.

“공격의 희생자”는 Pit Dernitz로 이 비디오에 관한 IMDB에 이름이 나와있다. 그는 유명한 사자 조련사이다.

이 영상은 Ultime Grida Dalla Savana라는 이런 비슷한 종류의 영상물이 포함된 이탈리아 몬도 영화의 한장면이다.

결국 이 영상은 어떤 법정 어디에도 등장하지 않았다.

Wolverine Sighted in Shasta County, California

Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also four posts on the wolverine in California.
There was an unconfirmed sighting of a wolverine in Shasta County, California a year ago, on Friday, September 26, 2008. The sighting occurred at 1 PM on a sunny day. The wolverine was crossing Highway 89 from north to south. It was walking fast more than running.
It was described as paler than most photos the observer had seen – more of a dark tan. This color is actually common for wolverines, and if this was an actual California wolverine, this subspecies was known to have a much lighter coloration. He observed it crossing the road at about 50 feet away until it vanished into the forest.
The observer assumed it was a pretty common animal until he went on the Net and did some research and found out how rare it was. He reported the sighting to this blog, and I believe him. Anyone who wants to talk to the observer about this sighting can try to contact him via me at my email
This area of California has actually had a number of wolverine sightings in recent years, including some by wildlife biologists. In addition, loggers, utility workers and Forest Service workers have been reporting sightings in the Lassen/Almanor area for years now. Bizarrely, even sightings by wildlife biologists are said to be “unconfirmed”.
The sighting was around Dead Horse Summit, about 20-30 miles west of McCloud, between the small towns of Bartle and Pondosa. This area is near MacArthur-Burney Falls State Park. That’s a really beautiful area. This part of California is very White, deeply conservative and very sparsely settled. I have been near this part of California, but it was so long ago, I don’t even remember it.

Dead Horse Summit. This is where the far southern end of the Cascades Range of Washington, Oregon and northern California meets the far northern end of the Sierra Nevada. This is an area where the California spotted owl probably intergrades with the Northern spotted owl. Wolverines are already known to exist at decent populations in southern Oregon. These are definitely California wolverines. If the California wolverine subspecies is to repopulate California and the Sierra Nevada, it will be through this corridor linking the two ranges.There is a fascinating old railroad track that runs through this area. You can take these little several man-railroad cars that cruise along the tracks and check out this train track. It’s really popular with model railroad fans for some weird reason. I’m not even sure if this track is even used by real trains anymore. As far as I can tell, it’s a tourist trap for model railroad dudes. Funny.

Wolverines Extinct in Sequoia – Kings Canyon?

Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington , Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California .
A new study using baited trap stations, done during winter, failed to find any California wolverines in either Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks in the southern Sierra Nevada. However, in 1980, definite wolverine tracks were seen at two locales in Kings Canyon National Park by trained wildlife biologists. However, tracks always count as “unverified”. But not to me.
I say that at least 28 years ago, wolverines were present in Kings Canyon National Park. Wolverine sightings in California in the past tended to be concentrated in Kings Canyon and Sequoia Parks. This area was long held to be the last stronghold of the wolverine in California. Many detailed sightings were made from 1900-1930 in Sequoia National Park. In one, a wolverine chased two adult bears away from a horse carcass.

A map of historical wolverine sightings in Kings Canyon – Sequoia Parks. As you can see, sightings were much more common from 1920-1955 or so and have dropped off quite a bit ever since. Click to view.

The survey utilized many trap stations set in winter for a couple of months. It was designed to test for wolverines persisting at very low densities.

A map of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks showing the locations of the bait stations used in this survey. It also includes sightings since 1980. In the past 28 years, there have been nine wolverine sightings. That is about one sighting every three years, not a very good record.
I am also aware of tracks spotted at Courtright Reservoir in 1990.
Courtright is located at the far west end of of rectangle 5a on the map, outside far northern Kings Canyon in the Sierra National Forest. These tracks were verified by Sierra National Forest wildlife biologists. I conclude therefore that wolverines were present near northern Kings Canyon at least 18 years ago.
I am also aware of another sighting out of Bishop, California on the Sierra crest in 1980. This sighting was by a wildlife biologist. The location of this sighting was just off this map to the north of the station labeled EV, north of Kings Canyon National Park. So from 18-28 years ago, wolverines were present in and around Kings Canyon. Whether the have been extirpated since 1990 is yet an open question in my mind. Click to view.

It failed to find any wolverines, and the researchers concluded that the California wolverine is likely extirpated from the Southern Sierra Nevada. Many other recent studies have also failed to find any wolverines.
However, this winter, a wolverine was photographed north of Lake Tahoe by researchers studying pine martens. DNA analysis has subsequently shown that this animal is from the Rocky Mountains and is not a California wolverine. It is not known how this male wolverine got to the northern Sierra Nevada, since the nearest population is in the Snake River Valley in Idaho far to the north.
There are other sightings in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks since 1995. A possible wolverine was heard near the Lodgepole area in Sequoia in 1995. It growled a frightening growl at a passerby from a small hole in some rocks that seemed too small to hold a bear.
On April 19, 2010, a woman reported to park authorities that she saw a wolverine crossing a road in Kings Canyon National Park. She picked a wolverine out of a sequence that also included photos of bear, fox, weasel and beaver as the animal that she saw.
The researchers advocate that wolverines be reintroduced to the Sierras, since they seem to be absent from most of the range.
I believe that California wolverines may continue to persist at very low levels in the Sierras.

Historical wolverine sightings in Yosemite National Park. Once again, sightings were much more common from 1920-1955 or so. But there were still quite a few sightings in the 1990’s. However, I am aware of some recent sightings in Yosemite in the 2000’s that were not included in this map. I believe that the wolverine may continue to persist at low levels in Yosemite. Click to view.

In August 2006, there was an unverified sighting of a California wolverine in the Soda Creek drainage northeast of Rainbow Mountain in the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park.

The Soda Creek Drainage in Mineral King, where there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine on the northeast slope of Rainbow Mountain in August 2006. This is at the confluence of Soda Creek, Lost Canyon Creek and Big Arroyo Creek in the Kern River Watershed. I have been to Mineral King once backpacking in 1973. It’s a pretty amazing place. If you can handle difficult hiking, it is worth the trip.
This part of the Sierra Nevada is a lot drier than the northern part of the Sierra where the wolverine photo was taken recently. According to a topo map I just found, the part of the Soda Creek drainage on the northeast slope of Mt. Rainbow would be very high, at about 10,826 feet. This shows that wolverines may well range above 10,000 feet in the Southern Sierras.
Fishing is banned here to preserve a population of endangered Little Kern Golden Trout. There are also endangered Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in the area. I have seen these sheep in the mountains just outside Los Angeles. A once in a lifetime experience!

In addition, a webpage states that wolverines continue to exist in Mineral King. A backcountry ranger for Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park said that he was 99% sure that there had been good wolverine sightings in Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP’s as recently as 2003, despite these negative findings.
There have also been sightings on the Sequoia National Forest adjacent to these two national parks and the Sequoia National Monument. According to the study, the last sighting was in 1988. Wolverines have been sighted as far south as Monache Meadows in the Dome Land Wilderness on the Sequoia NF, but the last sighting was in the 1950’s.
However, I recently received a report of a wolverine sighting on the South Sierra Wilderness in Cow Canyon at the 8511 foot level. The sighting occurred in the summer of 2008 on July 19 at 2 PM. The wolverine was sighted on the east side of Cow Canyon about 20 feet from the canyon bottom. This is only 1 1/2 miles east of Monache Meadows at the far southern end of their traditional range. The sighting was by an older man who grew up in national parks and knows wildlife very well. A spreadsheet of the sighting location is here.
The suggestion to reintroduce wolverines to the Sierra is probably the correct one.
The California wolverine as a proven subspecies is still controversial, and it seems to persist at either very low numbers in California or is extirpated altogether. California wolverines continue to exist in Oregon and Washington.

References

Graber D.M. 1996. Status of Terrestrial Vertebrates. SNEP Science Team and Special Consultants. Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project Report 25:709-734.Graber, D.M. 2006. Disturbing Yosemite. California 117:4.Hudgens, Brian R., Garcelon, David K. 2008. Winter Carnivore Survey Finds that Wolverines (Gulo gulo) are Likely Extirpated from Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks. Arcata: Institute for Wildlife Studies.
Sequoia National Forest. 2003. Giant Sequoia National Monument Management Plan Final Environmental Impact Statement. United States Forest Service, USDA.

Additions to the Wolverine's Range in Idaho

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington , Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California (soon to be published).
The wolverine in Idaho is generally considered inhabit three main areas:
The first and southernmost population is in the Sawtooth National Forest (northern part), Challis National Forest, Payette National Forest and Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho.
Yet another population is the central population in the Lochsa River Drainage in the Clearwater and Bitterroot Mountains in Clearwater National Forest.
A third population is the northern population to the north in the Selkirks along the Canadian border.
The three populations are considered to be separated from each other, although at least the first population is thought to be healthy.
Nevertheless, we continue to get reports of wolverines in other parts of Idaho. A previous post noted a wolverine on a telephone pole along the Snake River Valley in King Hill, Idaho, earlier this year.
A radio-collared wolverine recently traveled from the Grand Tetons in Wyoming across the Blackfoot and Caribou Mountains in the Targhee and Caribou National Forests in Southeastern Idaho, across private lands to the Portneuf Range west of the Portneuf River. This range is about 20 miles east of Pocatello, Idaho, and encompasses part of the Caribou National Forest and the Fort Hall Shoshone-Bannock Indian Reservation.


The breathtaking Portneuf Range east of Pocatello, Idaho, where the radio-collared wolverine ended up. It promptly turned right around and went back to the Tetons. In the Basin and Range Region.

A grazing allotment on the Blackfoot Mountains in southeastern Idaho. Lance Armstrong, the peripatetic wolverine, crossed this range on his way from the Grand Tetons to the Portneuf Range opposite Pocatello, Idaho. Grazing is thoroughly devastating BLM and Forest Service land in this region. The problem is particularly acute in Southern Idaho, as it is more arid.
All livestock grazing pretty much needs to be banned in at least these areas.Incredibly, livestock grazing is allowed in National Forest wilderness areas. This was one of the only ways that the 1964 Wilderness Act could get passed was to grandfather in these grazing allotments. It’s insane that grazing is allowed in wilderness areas. Grazing is particularly devastating in high-elevation forests of the Sierra Nevada and anywhere in the arid West.
The cow evolved in England and prefers a cool climate with lots of water. In the arid West, cows congregate during the summer in the riparian areas, which they completely devastate. A grand total of 2% of all US beef comes from public lands in the West – most beef comes from feedlots in the Midwest. Public lands grazing is welfare – the allotments are rented out to the ranchers at far below market value, so the taxpayer gets totally screwed.
Not only do we get ripped off on the rental of our lands, but we also get our lands devastated in the process. The whole thing is completely insane. If ranchers can’t make it ranching on private land, they need to get out of the business.
Furthermore, increasingly, public lands ranchers, like everything else in US capitalism, is going corporate. Mom and Pop ranchers are going out and ranching corporations are in. A large number of public lands grazing allotments are now being run by corporations as investment vehicles.

 
The long-ranging wolverine above was finally killed by a trapper just over the Montana border in the Centennial Range. Since the Centennials range into Idaho, we ought to add the Centennial Range in the Targhee National Forest to the wolverine’s range in Idaho.

The spectacular Centennial Range on the border between Idaho and Montana. This is where the long-ranging wolverine named Lance Armstrong was finally killed by a trapper over the border into Montana.

 
Montana still allows trapping of wolverines, which takes about a dozen a year. Studies are showing that even that small take may be too much for wolverines to sustain. However, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission recently voted to set limits on wolverine trapping for the very first time.
Additional searching around the net noted that a wolverine had been shot dead by some boys in the Snake River Canyon in Idaho a few years back. They were worried and they brought it in to the Department of Fish and Game office, but the wardens let them go because they were kids and did not know what they were doing, although the wolverine is protected in Idaho.

The Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho. Some teenage boys shot dead a wolverine here about three years ago, but were not charged. Clearly, wolverines do exist in this part of the Colombian Plateau. This is where Evil Knievel tried his ill-fated motorcycle jump across this canyon decades ago.

 
There are various definitions about what constitutes the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. The most parsimonious definition says that it starts at the spectacular Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho. It seems to continue west about 30 miles to 1000 Springs (great pics on that page) at Hagerman, where Wikipedia implies that it ends.
So this wolverine was apparently killed in the canyon between Twin Falls and Hagerman. That’s only about 47 miles north of the Nevada border.
Way further afield, in the Seven Devils Mountains of far western Idaho in the Hell’s River Canyon of the Snake River, wolverines exist. As you can see in various places in this large document (page 6 for instance) they are actually doing surveys for their dens.
Included in the appendices is a report called Survey of Wolverine Dens in the Seven Devils Mountains of Hells Canyon.

The gorgeous Seven Devils Range in the Payette National Forest in Idaho. This range borders on Hell’s Canyon and may serve as a steppingstone for wolverines to travel from Idaho across the Snake River to the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon.

 
There are also reports of wolverines in the Wood River Valley area. Part of the Wood River runs about 30 miles north of Twin Falls, but the Wood River Valley refers to private land about 60-70 miles north of Twin Falls. It includes the towns of Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey and Bellevue. We should extend wolverine habitat down from the Sawtooths into the Wood River Valley. There have been recent sightings in the Sun Valley area.
On the webpage for Power County, a county in southeastern Idaho west and southwest of Pocatello, the county claims that wolverines occur there. There are various ranges there, including the Bannock Range, the Sublette Range and the Deep Creek Range.


The spectacular Deep Creek Range in southeastern Idaho. It is about 40 miles long, and is bounded by Arbon Valley on the East and Rockland Valley on the West as it ranges through Power County. Wolverines may well exist here. Another Basin and Range mountain range.
 

The Bannock Range in southeastern Idaho. Both the Bannock and the Deep Creek Ranges are southwest of Pocatello. The Bannocks extend from Pocatello 85 miles south into northern Utah through the Caribou National Forest. Wolverines may well exist in this range. Also located in the Basin and Range region.

 
Photos of all of these beautiful ranges can be seen on Ralph Maughan’s excellent blog. Maughan is a professor of political science at Idaho State University in Pocatello. He’s also really big on wolves.
Incredibly, the Bush Administration removed all protections for all wolves in the United States! The Rocky Mountains population is doing fairly well, but they completely removed the wolves from the endangered species list and handed management of them over to the states, who proceeded to slaughter them as fast as they can!
Web page on myths about wolves. Wolves are hardly dangerous at all to humans. Predators killed 12,100 sheep in Idaho last year. Of those, a little more than 2% were killed by wolves. Domestic dogs killed for more and coyotes killed the most of all. There is nothing to do with coyotes and no way to get rid of them. The more you do predator control against them, the more sheep they kill.
Ranchers claim that wolves are devastating Idaho’s cattle industry. Wolves killed 24 cows in Idaho last year, .03 of all losses. All predators accounted for only 3% of all losses and wolves accounted for less than 1% of all predator losses. Ranchers are reimbursed for all of their losses to wolves anyway.
This is a clear consequence of White Rule in America. White Rule has meant a total corporate takeover of every nook and cranny in this nation, along with utter devastation of our environment and every non-utilitarian form of non-human life in it.
What’s odd is that surveys of Americans, including most Whites, show that they are strong environmentalists. But environmentalism is way down on the list. What’s high on the list? Although most US Whites will tell you that they are not racist, the movement of US Whites towards the Republican Party from 1980-present has been pretty much predicated on race.
It’s coincided with a dramatic decrease in the White % in this country. You tell me that is a coincidence? Forget it! When I was coming of age in the late 1970’s, this was probably an 82% White country. The vast majority of people that I grew up with, went to high school, junior college and even college with, were White. The people I met at my jobs and on college trips were almost all White. It was just a White World.
Since 1980, our White World has gotten darker and darker. Whites have dropped from 82% of the US to about 64% and it’s dropping all the time. This has amazingly coincided with Whites leaving liberalism en masse and voting hard rightwing Republican. The White Republican politics has gotten harder and harder rightwing with time.
During the 1990’s and into the Bush Administration, we are now dealing with quite possibly the most rightwing President this country has ever seen – and it’s all the fault of White people. Why are Whites voting more and more reactionary with time? Because their rule is coming to an end.
This is a predictable political trend for any ruling group which is desperately trying to hold onto power in the face of rising opposition. In truth, ruling groups often opt for dictatorship and often fascism as they desperately try to cling to power.
In summary, occupied wolverine habitat in Idaho should be extended beyond the description at the beginning to the post to Power County, Elmore County, the Snake River Valley, the Blackfoot Mountains, the Centennial Range, the Caribou Range, the Snake River Range, the Big Hole Mountains, the Targhee and Caribou National Forests, the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, the Portneuf Range, the Seven Devils Mountains , the Snake River Canyon and possibly the Bannock and Deep Creek Ranges.

References

Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a Rule to List the Wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the Contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Edelman, Frank and Copeland, Jeff. 1999. Wolverine Distribution in the Northwestern United States and a Survey in the Seven Devils Mountains of Idaho. Northwest Science 62:181-185.
Groves, Craig R. 1988. Distribution of the Wolverine in Idaho as Determined by Mail Questionnaire. Northwest Science 62(4):181-5.
Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo) .
Wildlife Conservation Society 2004. Wolverine Takes A Road Trip: Scientists Track Male Animal Over a Three-state, 550-mile Walk-about. Science Daily.

Tahoe Wolverine is Not From California

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and the Upper Midwest. There are also four posts on the wolverine in California.
The first wolverine detected in California in 86 years, photographed at a camera station at Sagehen Creek near Lake Tahoe on February 28, 2008, has now been shown to be not from either California or Washington.
Scientists located wolverine scat near where the photo was shot and analyzed it for genes. A single gene was sequenced, the wolverine was shown to be a male, and the gene has been reported only from wolverines in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. It is also found in southern Canada.
The only conclusion possible is that the wolverine is from the Rocky Mountains and is not a native California wolverine. No one has any idea how it got to California. It’s pretty hard to live-trap these things and transport them unless you are a wildlife biologist.
It doesn’t make much sense that this wolverine cruised down from the Snake River region in Western Idaho along eastern Oregon to the Cascades, then down the Sierras to Tahoe, but according to a recent study, that is exactly what it seems to have done. It seems to have some from the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.
At least they are back in California, but I never thought they left anyway. The Sierra Nevada is their natural home, and I don’t think it matters where this animal came from. They are back, they exist, and we need to keep them around.
As far as how this animal showed up north of Tahoe, that will just have to fall into the category of one of life’s strange mysteries. Captive wolverines have been dumped before – one was plunked down in Iowa in 1960, where a farmer later shot it in a cornfield.
Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.

Wolverines in the Upper Midwest

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada and New Mexico. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California.
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Rediscovered After 85 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the Upper Midwest. Until recently, wolverines had been extinct in the Upper Midwest for 85-200 years.
However, one was photographed recently in Michigan. Furthermore, there have been some tantalizing sightings in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and even a few in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri in recent years. It is distinctly possible the wolverines may be reclaiming some of their historical territory in the Upper Midwest. If so, this is fascinating indeed.
In 2004, a wolverine was photographed in Ubly, Michigan, 90 miles north of Detroit. They were extirpated from Michigan almost 200 years ago.
DNA testing of this wolverine showed that it was from Alaska. How it got from Alaska to Michigan is anyone’s guess. On March 14, 2010, this wolverine was found dead in Sanilac County, Michigan, south of where it was originally sighted in Ubly.
There have been other sightings in Lower Michigan. In November 1958, a wolverine was seen near Cadillac, Michigan by a boy who was deer hunting. A wolverine was sighted around 1998-2000 in Tawas, Michigan. In August 2009, a wolverine was spotted by motorists twice in short period of time just outside of Alpena, Michigan which is on the shore of Lake Huron in the far north of the Thumb near the Upper Peninsula. In November 2009, four people spotted a wolverine outside of West Brach, Michigan in the north of the Thumb south of Huron National Forest.
These wolverines could have come down from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan because there are wolverine sightings there. Or possibly they could have come from Southern Ontario near Port Huron, though that area is densely populated. There is known to be a population in Ontario, albeit in the northern part.
The sightings on the Upper Peninsula have been in Delta County, Tahquamenon Falls State Park and the Keweenaw Peninsula. I assume that the Upper Peninsula population came from Ontario, possibly across the St. Mary’s River, if it freezes over in wintertime.

A forest road in Delta County, Michigan. This road is in Escanaba State Forest. A wolverine was sighted here in an unverified sighting sometime between 1999-2004. During this period, there was about one wolverine sighting a year in Michigan, all from the Upper Peninsula.
The forests here have been changed massively from 100 years ago, when most of the White Pine was logged off. I assume what we have here is Eastern second-growth forest coming back in after the old growth was logged off. This second-growth explosion is fueling an increase in wildlife numbers, especially deer, all over the East Coast.
Tahquamenon Falls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. This area is located at the far east end of the UP near Ontario. The town of Paradise is nearby, as is Whitefish Bay. If the St. Mary’s River is frozen over, wolverines may well come down from Ontario to the UP. The part of Ontario near Sault Saint Marie is pretty sparsely populated. An unverified sighting of a wolverine was reported here in 2002.

 
There was also an unverified wolverine sighting in the UP on November 21, 2001 at 3 PM, crossing Highway M-64 1 mile south of Silver City in Ontonagon County. In August 2008, a wolverine was spotted in the UP in the garden of the Big Bay Lighthouse on Lake Superior.
In the late 2000’s, there was rash of wolverine sightings around Babbitt, Minnesota, which is near Ely in the far northeastern part of the state near Canada. A tiny lynx population has recently also been confirmed there. The sightings around Babbitt appear to be genuine. Babbitt is surrounded by the Superior National Forest and there are frequent sightings of bears and even wolves in the area, even inside city limits.
In addition, there was one documented sighting in northeastern Minnesota in 1965, but details are lacking. In 1974 there was a report of a wolverine in a hay field in north-central Minnesota, near the North Woods. There was also a sighting on Koochiching County on the Minnesota border with Canada in 1982. That sighting was deemed credible.
In early 2008, there have been reports of dog and horse kills in and around Rollag, Minnesota lately. Certain things about the killings indicate that a wolverine may be doing this. Rollag is far to the north, getting up near the North Woods. It is east of and not far from Fargo, North Dakota.
There is also a report of a wolverine captured on a security camera in 2005-2006 at a Ford dealership in the town of Zumbrota in Southeast Minnesota. This land is very much prairie.
In 1991, a baby wolverine was seen dying by the side of the road on Highway 232 near Lake Nichols close to Cotton, Minnesota. The motorists did not know how rare it was or else they would have kept the carcass. In 1999, a wolverine was spotted by a canoeist in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota on the border of Ontario, Canada.
In November 2004, a wolverine was seen eating a gut pile from a dead deer near Askov, Minnesota. In 2005, a wolverine was spotted in the Tamarack National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. In Summer 2006, a fisherman fishing in the Narrows between Big and Little Cut Foot Sioux Lakes in Northern Minnesota saw a wolverine. He was able to watch it for 15 minutes until it caught his scent and left. In Summer 2008, a wolverine was spotted in the forest of Eagles Nest, Minnesota, south of Ely and north of Tower. In Fall 2008, a hunter spotted a wolverine in the Black Brook Swamp east of Camp Ripley, Minnesota.
In 2010, a deer hunter saw a wolverine in Douglas County, Minnesota. Another wolverine was photographed near there five years later. In July 2010, a wolverine was seen by a motorist at night on US 53 ten miles south of International Falls, Minnesota. In Summer 2010, a wolverine was seen outside of Chisholm, Minnesota near Superior State Park.
In July 2011, a wolverine was seen crossing Highway 232 near Lake Nichols close to Cotton, Minnesota.
On January 12, 2012, a wolverine was spotted somewhere in Southern Minnesota. Someone went out to their car late at night, and a wolverine was by the garage. Tracks were found the very next day. On July 12, 2012, two hunters saw a wolverine while driving on the Dick’s Parkway road 13 miles south of Warroad, Minnesota. The GPS location was given as 48 42.131, -95 20.566. On October 20, 2012 at midnight, a wolverine was seen on someone’s driveway in Ham Lake, Minnesota.
At 6 PM on On October 13, 2013, a wolverine was seen in the Superior National Forest crossing Pike Lake Road on the east side of Pike Lake between Lutsen and Grand Marais, Minnesota. This is seven miles from Lake Superior. On June 6, 2014, a wolverine was spotted in Jordan, Minnesota in a corn and alfalfa field. It was running away from a neighbor’s elk ranch. Two men observed it for a full two minutes. The areas consists of open farm country with some random tree lines.
On June 13, 2014 at 2:30 in the afternoon, a wolverine was seen crossing Road 327 in Watowan County, Minnesota. It was seen two miles east and six miles north of Saint James, Minnesota on the Watowan River.
On April 30, 2015, two wolverines were seen running, one behind the other, just east of Rush City, Minnesota in the Saint Croix River Valley. In May 2015, a wolverine was photographed by a trail cam in Douglas County, Minnesota. I have seen the photo and felt that it was interesting but inconclusive. I showed the photo to a wolverine expert, and he also said it could be a wolverine, but it was unclear enough so it was inconclusive.

Old State Route 52 north of Zumbrota, Minnesota. It’s hard to believe that wolverines inhabit such terrain. Wolverines are recolonizing their old habitat on the US prairie. Why?

 
Many have questioned whether wolverines were actually common in prairies or if prairies merely served as population sinks. It is looking more and more like prairies are a natural home for wolverines, strange as it may seem. If these reports are accurate, it means that wolverines are re-colonizing Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and possibly also Iowa, which is fantastic news!

Prairie Island (Sioux) Indian Reservation near Zumbrota, Minnesota. Is it possible that wolverines in the past preyed on the vast buffalo herds of prairie, perhaps especially on dead buffaloes?

 
The occurrence of the wolverine in Wisconsin is very rare but documented.
On an unknown date, a wolverine was spotted on Peshtigo Brook Fire Road where it joins Kitzinger Road near Gillett, Wisconsin.
In May 1978, a wolverine was spotted by a boy and his father while walking along the Oconto River in Oconto County eight miles west of Crooked Lake, Wisconsin. The boy was able to observe it for one minute.
We receive a number of undocumented sightings by email to this site. One man grew up in Land O’ Lakes in Far Northern Wisconsin on the border with Michigan in an area known as the North Woods. This is an area of very thick, wild forest and swamps. There are many wolves, bears and possibly wolverines in this part of Wisconsin.
In 1982, the man saw three wolves in his front yard. In 1990, he and his friends treed 22 different bears in a single day while training bear dogs. They also had a frightening standoff with a wolverine on that day. From about 1983-1995, when he engaged in frequent deer hunting, the man  saw one or more wolverines every year.
In September 1990, a wolverine was seen several times over two weeks. The last time the man saw one was in 2006 near Rhinelander, Wisconsin. All sightings took place between 1983-2006 in the North Woods approximately between Rhinelander and Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. The bear density in this region is said to be incredible, or at least it was 10 years ago (Bangs 2009).
In the early 1990’s, a wolverine ran in front of a man’s car in Marinette County, Wisconsin.
A wolverine was photographed on top of a woodpile in Green Lake County, Wisconsin in recent years. The disposition of the photo is unknown. There are also recent sightings in the Black River Falls area and to the north in Wisconsin from 2000-2007. A 2003 sighting in Lafayette County in the far south of the state was regarded as credible by the the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In 2004-2005, a wolverine was spotted in Niagara, Wisconsin in the fall on opening day of deer hunting season.
In 2010, a roadkilled wolverine was found by the side of the road in Green Lake County, Wisconsin. In November 2010, a father and son saw a wolverine while sitting in a deer stand north of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
In March 2011, a wolverine was seen crossing Highway 53 between New Auburn and Bloomer, Wisconsin. On July 29, 2011, a wolverine was seen crossing the highway on US 20 east of Sac City, Wisconsin. On November 25, 2011, a deer hunter saw a wolverine run by his blind south of Gillette, Wisconsin. In Fall 2011, a wolverine was seen twice in a one week period by two hunters in Northern Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, one mile south of Brown County. Over the next year, a wolverine, suspected to be the same one as before, was seen in area.
On November 6, 2012, a wolverine was spotted by a man and his girlfriend hunting deer on their farm in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. They observed it for half a minute. A wolverine had been seen in the area 20 years before in the early 1990’s.
In July 2013, a wolverine killed a woman’s two cats at a home at in Wisconsin at Highway 53 and I-94 Highway 9 miles form Eau Claire and 6 miles form Osseo. A few days later, a neighbor came within three feet of a wolverine. Three weeks before, a nearby tavern owner said he had seen a wolverine on a county road. Around the time the woman’s cats vanished, neighbors in the vicinity started seeing their pets disappearing. Before the cats were killed, it had been eating the woman’s cat food for some time. On August 28, 2013, a man saw a wolverine running away from a trash bin at a gas station in Elk Mound, Wisconsin.
On June 13, 2014, a wolverine was seen in a field only two miles north of Independence, Wisconsin.
There have been a few unverified sightings of wolverines in North Dakota recently. In 1988, two wolverines were seen along the Little Missouri River in the Badlands of far western North Dakota by a very experienced fur trapper. In 2004, there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine near Minot. The observer watched it for a good five minutes. On June 23, 2013, a wolverine was seen in the Turtle Mountains in Far Northern North Dakota on the Manitoba border. In February 2015, mailmen spotted a wolverine on their route near Rugby, North Dakota. That is 50 miles east of Minot and 60 miles south of the Manitoba border with Canada.
There have also been wolverine sightings in South Dakota in the past 60 years. There was a verifiable wolverine sighting in the south-central portion of the state in 1961 (Aubry et al 1967). From 1998-2016, an 18 year period, three wolverines were seen in Lake County, South Dakota. One was an adult and two were juveniles. The adult was severely mauled by people’s dogs. On July 12, 2012, someone saw a wolverine near Nisland, South Dakota on the Belle Fourche River in Western South Dakota 25 miles from the Wyoming border. Their neighbor had seen a wolverine shortly before the sighting. People 10 miles northwest of Nisland said that they had seen a wolverine earlier.
A female wolverine was shot dead by a farmer on May 21, 1960 in a cornfield in central Iowa (Haugen 1961). No one quite knew how she ended up in central Iowa. She was infected with Trichinella spiralis, a parasite. (Zimmerman et al 1962). However, one report said that this wolverine had been transported into the state in 1960. There were reports around 1995-2000 of a “black animal” going from north to south through eastern Iowa killing dogs. It may have been a wolverine.
Five different people spotted a wolverine in Southwestern Iowa in 2008. A wolverine was seen in Mid June 2010 near Canton, Iowa near the Maquoketa Caves. In 2011, a bowhunter spotted a wolverine in Southeastern Iowa. In July 2011, three people spotted a wolverine walking across County Road V68 1/4 to 1/2 mile north of Highway 3 in Fayette County, Iowa. It was headed in the direction of the Wapsipinicon River. This is 10 miles north of Fairbank, Iowa.
On July 31, 2011, a wolverine cub was seen on the deck of a house in the hills north of Sioux City, Iowa. In mid-July 2102, a wolverine was photographed in Fonanelle in Adair Country in Southwestern Iowa; however, it is not known what happened to the photograph.
Incredibly enough, there have been a number of wolverine sightings in Nebraska in recent years.
It makes sense because wolverines are native to Nebraska, at least in the more mountainous parts to the north. In the Hall of Nebraska Wildlife in the University of Nebraska Natural History Museum, there is a mounted specimen of a wolverine that was shot on Scott’s Bluff, Nebraska in the 1880’s. That area is in Far Western Nebraska on the North Platte River only 20 miles from the Wyoming border. This part of Nebraska borders on Southeastern Wyoming, which is known to have wolverine populations.
In particular, wolverines have been repeatedly sighted in and around Antelope and Knox Counties in Far Northeastern Nebraska near the Missouri River and the South Dakota border.
This area is near Louis and Clark Lake and the Santee Sioux Indian Reservation. In this area, there have been many sightings along the Verdigre and Niobrara Rivers. For instance, in Summer 1998, a number of people spotted a wolverine near Verdigre, Nebraska. One was seen chasing a deer out of a draw in the middle of a hay meadow.

Photo of the area of NE Nebraska around the Niobrara, Verdigre and Elkhorn Rivers where there have been numerous wolverine sightings. That is probably the Verdigre River in the foreground.
Photo of the area of NE Nebraska around the Niobrara, Verdigre and Elkhorn Rivers where there have been numerous wolverine sightings. That is probably the Verdigre River in the foreground.

In April 2012, a fire and range ecologist spotted a wolverine running away after a cedar burn operation in a steep area near Scotia on the North Loup River. This is about in the dead center of Nebraska.
On October 29, 2014, a wet wolverine that seemed to have been swimming somewhere was seen in a pasture in Central Nebraska near Doniphan between Hastings and Grand Island. This is quite close to the Platte River where it may have been swimming. The area is between Lincoln and Platte, Nebraska.
There has also been one sighting north of Gordon in northwestern Nebraska on the headwaters of Wounded Knee Creek near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This area is east of the town of Whiteclay, Nebraska, now the scene of a famous fight over selling booze to Pine Ridge Indians.
A view of the terrain around Whiteclay, Nebraska. A wolverine was sighted on the South Dakota border about 17 miles east of here.
A view of the terrain around Whiteclay, Nebraska. A wolverine was sighted on the South Dakota border about 17 miles east of here.

Incredibly enough, there have even been wolverine sightings in Missouri. On October 28, 2011, a man spotted a wolverine emerging from a cornfield and crossing State Highway E just south of Highway 13. This is hilly farm country. This area is in Western Nebraska not far from the Missouri River and is close to the place where the borders of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri all meet. There are a number of good sightings in both Nebraska and Iowa, so it is possible, though bizarre, that wolverines may exist in Western Missouri.
The first Grey Wolf in 94 years was seen recently in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It was a lone male. The UP, Minnesota and Wisconsin all have healthy populations. The Black Bear and wolf populations in Minnesota have shown dramatic increases in recent years, and there is now a healthy population of over 25 lynx in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for the first time in 30 years.
In other great news along similar lines, an Eastern Grey Wolf, the first in 160 years, was detected in Massachusetts. It killed over a dozen lambs before the farmer shot it to death. The killing was probably justified, but it is unfortunate that the first wolf in the state in over 150 years got shot to death. There will probably be more wolves coming to the state after this one, though.
Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.

References

Aubry, K. B., McKelvey, K. S., and Copeland, J. P. 2007. Distribution and Broadscale Habitat Relations of the Wolverine in the Contiguous United States. Journal of Wildlife Management 71(7): 148-158.
Bangs, Ray. 2009. Personal communication.
Haugen, A. O. 1961. Wolverine in Iowa. Journal of Mammalogy 42: 546-547.
Zimmermann, W. J., Biester, H. E., Schwarte, L. H., and Hubbard, E. D. 1962. Trichinella spiralis in Iowa Wildlife during the Years 1953 to 1961. The Journal of Parasitology, 48:3:1, pp. 429-432.

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Wolverines in New Mexico

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington , Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, Nevada and the Upper Midwest. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California (soon to be published).
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 85 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in New Mexico.
Wolverines may yet exist in New Mexico. Interviews with hunters in northern New Mexico conducted in 1864 indicated that the wolverine occurred in New Mexico at that time. An Acoma Indian interviewed in 1931 said that wolverines formerly occurred in all of the mountains of northern New Mexico.
In 1985, there was a published report of a wolverine sighting in tundra habitat on Latir Peak in the Sangre De Cristos in New Mexico.

Latir Peak in the Latir Peak Wilderness Area in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Taos, New Mexico. A wolverine was sighted in tundra here in 1985.

There have been several other probable wolverine sightings recently in the New Mexico Sangre De Cristos.

Lake Fork Peak in the spectacular Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico. The red line indicates the route taken by mountain climbers who bagged this peak. There have been several sightings of wolverines in this rugged range in recent years, and northern New Mexico was formerly wolverine habitat.

Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.

References

Frey, J.K. 2006. Inferring species distributions in the absence of occurrence records: an example considering wolverine (Gulo gulo) and Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) in New Mexico. Biological Conservation 130:16-24.

Wolverines in Colorado and Utah

Repost from the old site.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Nevada, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also five posts on the wolverine in California.
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 85 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the states of Utah and Colorado.
Wolverines are present in Colorado on the Pike and White River National Forests and in Utah in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains and in Sanpete County in central Utah.

The Pike National Forest southwest of Denver, Colorado. This forest is believed to harbor wolverines. The famous Pike’s Peak is located in this forest.
The Manti-La Sal National Forest in Utah in Sanpete County. This county in central Utah is believed to harbor a wolverine population. This area is northeast of Fillmore, Utah, which is the sighting nearest to Nevada.

 
I recently received a report of a good, but unconfirmed, wolverine sighting in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The sighting occurred on August 20, 1989 in the Upper Escalante River Canyon at the junction with Coyote Gulch (map here). The wolverine was in the canyon chasing a beaver near its beaver dam. It also swam across the river.
The sighting was by a man with a Master’s Degree in Ecology from UC Davis. The elevation for the sighting was 4,100 feet, but wolverines are not always found at high elevations.
This is an extremely unusual place to see a wolverine, but they probably used to live here. There are place names such as “Wolverine Bench” on the map in the Escalante Canyon area and wolverines used be found into northern Arizona. If wolverines existed in northern Arizona, clearly they existed in the Glen Canyon area. Wolverines live in very similar habitat in the Snake River Canyon in Idaho.
The Upper Escalante River Canyon is in the Aquarius Plateau, which has 50,000 acres of land above 11,000 feet. That’s clearly wolverine habitat. The junction of Coyote Gulch and the Upper Escalante is a ways away from the Plateau, but it’s likely a dispersing juvenile could be found in the area. A photo of the terrain is here.
There have been sporadic wolverine sightings for decades in Colorado.
A Colorado Department of Wildlife biologist spotted one south of Trapper Lake in Flat Tops Wilderness in the mid-1960’s.
 

Trapper Lake in the Flat Tops Wilderness. Canyon walls tower up to 1,000 feet at this late at the 9,500 foot elevation level. Fishing is very popular in this lake and it is said to be very good.

The Flat Tops is partly in the White River National Forest and partly in the Routt NF. There was another unconfirmed sighting of tracks from the Flat Tops in 2003.

A photo of Vail ski resort and the town of Vail, Colorado as seen from Red Sandstone Road, which goes north of town. A wolverine was seen on this road recently. Click to enlarge.

Recently, there was an unconfirmed wolverine sighting 4-5 miles up Red Sandstone Road in Vail, Colorado on the White River National Forest.
 

The famous Maroon Bells in the White River National Forest in western Colorado. Aspen and Vail are also located in this forest. I spent a week skiing in Aspen in 1978. Great place! The White National Forest is believed to harbor a wolverine population. Along with Pike NF, these may be the only populations in the state.

 
There was another unconfirmed sighting of a wolverine chasing a boy on a motorcycle down a road in the Routt National Forest in far northern Colorado some years ago. The Routt is near Steamboat Springs up by the Wyoming border.
There have been multiple unconfirmed wolverine sightings in Rocky Mountain National Park since 2000.
In June 1979, a man watched a wolverine for four minutes as it approached a bear bait he had set near Parshall in Grant County. That area is southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park.
 

A photo of the Aspen Canyon Ranch in Parshall, Colorado. A wolverine was seen here in 1979. Parshall is not much of a town. It is really just an unincorporated collection of small homes and trailers. There are dude ranches all around here. That may be the Colorado River in the photo, as it runs through town here near its headwaters. Fishing is supposed to be great in the river here.

 
In June 1978, a couple photographed an adult wolverine with three cubs in the Uncompagre. In the late 1980’s, there was an unconfirmed sighting of a wolverine in the Uncompagre Wilderness on the Uncompagre National Forest. The Uncompagre is in southern Colorado and is located about 20 miles northwest of Telluride.
In March 1979, three biologists with the Colorado Department of Wildlife saw a wolverine near the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery near Rifle, Colorado in Garfield County in western Colorado.
 

Rifle Mountain Park, 13 miles north and just beyond the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery, the largest fish hatchery in Colorado. There is great ice climbing here during the winter and mountain climbing the rest of the year. You don’t even have to worry about rain much because the cliffs catch so much of it and you can always take shelter under one. A wolverine was seen near here in 1979.

Also in March 1979, a man shot a wolverine on Highway 40, 1½ miles west of the Colorado border in Utah near Dinosaur, Colorado.
In June 1978, a man took three photos of a wolverine crossing a snow field on Trinchera Peak (13,513 feet) in the Sangre de Christo Mountains in southern Colorado.
 

The spectacular Trinchera Peak in the Sangre de Cristos. Bighorns roam on the top slopes of the mountain.

There have also been quite a few sightings in the San Juan Mountains north of Durango and southeast of Wolf Creek Pass.
In July 1977, a man found a wolverine skull in the East Fork of the Cinnamon River Drainage in Gunnison County. The skull was less than 10 years old.
Wolverines have also been spotted, incredibly, near Sterling on the Great Plains in northeastern Colorado, which seems very odd, but looking through all of these reports, it becomes apparent that wolverines in Wyoming, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Iowa and Minnesota may indeed use prairie habitat.


An incredible photo of a tornado over Sterling, Colorado from a storm-chaser page. Storm-chasers chase tornadoes so they can get pictures of them, or just to watch them. Pretty dangerous sport. Click to enlarge. I think it is quite clear by now that wolverines do use prairie habitat.
Even aboriginally, prairie was thought to be marginal for wolverines, but perhaps that was wrong. Pre-contact, vast herds of buffalo roamed the prairie, and there would be plenty of dead buffalo for the scavenging wolverine to eat.

References

Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a Rule to List the Wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the Contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Nead, D. M., Halfpenny, J. C., and Bissell, S. 1984. The Status of Wolverines in Colorado. Northwest Sci.: 58: 286-289.
Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo).

Man Gets Eaten By Lion in Africa

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I am looking for translators to translate this post into Spanish and German. Email me if you are interested.
Many, many people insist that this video must be fake, and actually, it is.
The story is that this is a very famous video that was taken in the mid-1970’s in Africa on a safari. The tourist was apparently from London. It was entered as evidence in a court case. The insurance company used this tape evidence in court to deny the life insurance claim for the guy. They argued that the man engaged in “gross stupidity” and therefore they were not on the line for payout.
In truth, this video is fake. It is said to have occurred in Wallasee National Park in Angola in the mid-70’s. There is no such place in Angola or anywhere in Africa.
The “attack victim” is named Pit Dernitz, and he has his own IMDB entry for this video. He is a very famous lion trainer.
This clip was taken from an Italian Mondo film called Ultime Grida Dalla Savana, which contains many similar clips.
This film was never entered into any court case.
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Libertarianism – The Enemy of all Non-Human Life on Earth

As several posts on Occidental Dissent make clear, libertarianism (and its mainstream congener, neoliberalism) is utterly incompatible with the preservation of any non-human and non-domesticated or non-utilitarian life forms. Libertarians like to throw up weird scenarios whereby preserving wildlife, wild spaces and wild places would somehow be more economically viable than exterminating them, exploiting them, and devastating them.
The problem is that this never works out in praxis. Even when we environmentalists produce reports showing that preserving forests and meadows is worth way more than chopping them down or ruining them with cattle, 100% of libertarians always line up with exploiters. I’ve been reading them forever. Libertarian environmentalist is an oxymoron.
Since neoliberalism is just libertarianism, neoliberalism also can never support environmentalism. Market-driven environmental policies must be some kind of a cruel joke. They can never work. In strict economically rational terms, it is either never or almost never economically rational to save species, habitats or places. Destruction and extermination is where the money is, and in neoliberal theory, maximum return is the only variable we are allowed to consider.
Libertardarians now argue that humans (I guess maybe those of White European stock) now care enough about environmentalism that we can zero out government, privatize everything, and everything will still be hunky dory for the bighorns, the spotted owls and timber wolves. Yeah right.
In the first place, this would only work with White people, because only Whites can be environmentalists at the moment, and only more advanced Whites in North America and Europe need apply even here. That’s because Whites in Latin America and Russia have proven to be utterly capable of taking care of the environment. Native Americans and Siberians can probably preserve things too, but they don’t run any states.
Let’s test out the libertarian theory on most liberal-minded of the more progressive Whites on Earth, the ultra-liberals in California (though not a White state anymore, nevertheless, California is one of the most pro-environmental states in the nation).
The argument that humans now care enough about species to preserve them is proven wrong here in the West. Even here in ultra-liberal California, the glorious salmon are nearly extinct. The striped bass fishery in the Delta and Bay has also been ruined. The vast herds of Tule Elk that roamed all over the valleys and coastal areas of our state have been decimated and only exist on miniscule preserves that look like petting zoos. Fishers and spotted owls are being driven extinct by the timber industry as we speak.
A lot of CA endangered species are not real celebrities, but salmon would seem to have quite a bit of worth. Yet the salmon fishery in CA and up and down the West has been decimated. And even the ultra-liberal CA senators like Dianne Feinstein insist that we have not creamed the salmon enough, and need to take them out once and for all now. Feinstein’s mostly doing this for one of her rich Jewish buddies, Stewart Resnick of Beverly Hills. So much for liberal US Jews!
The notion that humans (Anywhere!) now value wildlife enough to be trusted with preserving them in a libertarian society is seriously wrong, and we can prove it right here in California.
In the 3rd World, humans are so bestial, venal, animalistic and backwards that they indeed are well on the way to extrerminating everything non-human, non-domesticated and non-utilitarian in sight.
An excellent argument in favor of White superiority (which I agree with) is, as I noted above, that Whites are really the only humans on Earth (who run states) that care about non-human life enough to preserve it.* Virtually every other race and ethnic group of man will gladly exterminate every single non-domesticated species and non-utilitarian species in its land at the drop of a hat.
Preserving species is something only Whites can do. And it’s something that only White governments can do, the White private sector haven proven endlessly to have failed at this endeavor.
*I honestly wish that non-European states were capable of not exterminating everything in sight, but I doubt it. The Middle East is an environmental catastrophe. The only environmentally decent place is Israel, but that’s populated by White people. The only environmentally progressive place in Latin America is Costa Rica, but once again, that’s a White country. It seems that all Arabs and mestizos can do is destroy.
Asians seem like a nightmare in environmental terms. They aren’t even capable of tender feelings towards cats and dogs, which they massacre for sport and food, so how can they possibly be trusted with non-domesticated things. The Japanese have been some of the worst scofflaws in international fishing and their bestial exploits in whaling have earned them the scorn of the planet.
True, in some ways, Koreans and Japanese seem to want to preserve what’s left on their lands, but environmentally, those places are pretty much human-nuked anyway, mostly by overpopulation. A preservationist impulse isn’t worth much if there is nothing left to preserve.
The hunter-gatherers of Southeast Asia never had the caretaker mindset of American Indians, instead opting for the more primitive mindset of “kill everything that moves.” The extinction process in SE Asia is very advanced and the state does very little to stop it. Environmental consciousness is extremely low.
Probably Vietnam is one of the more standout states. China is just now starting to develop an environmental ethic, but it doesn’t seem to be very advanced, and in a lot of ways, environmentally, China looks like America 1890.
I’m amazed that anything non-human and non-bovine is still walking around in India, where the extinction process is quite advanced, the state is extremely weak, and poachers are everywhere.
Russians have always been some of the most backwards and barbaric of the Whites, and environmentally, that’s still the case. Since the collapse of the USSR things have really fallen badly apart. Market hunters and poachers stalk the land. In Siberia, the poacher harvest of salmon is the same size as the legal harvest. The Amur Leopard and the Siberian Tiger are hanging on by their bare claws, and I expect them to go extinct soon.
Africa has to be one of the worst places on Earth to be a species of wildlife. Africans are primitive people, and primitives tend to kill anything that moves, usually for food. The only reason that there were still huge wildlife populations 50 years ago is due to White colonists, who forbade the Africans from wiping out the animals. With decolonization, Africans quickly set work slaughtering anything that moved.
That they had not done so in centuries past was due only to the crudity of their weapons. You can’t kill many animals with a spear. In 1965, Africans with firearms were a threat the animal population of the continent. The large megafauna were only saved when the former White colonists were called back in by concerned Africans to save the animals.
Many of the large animal populations still exist, but poachers and bush meat hunters take a devastating toll. I don’t see anything positive in the future. Africans don’t seem to be capable of not exterminating animals.
One argument is that non-Whites do these things because they are poor.
Equatorial Guinea now has a PCI of $21,000/year. Anyone seen any nice environmental initiatives coming out of there? Has the wealth of the Japanese prevented them from killing whales? Has Korean wealth prevented them from waging mass pogroms against dogs and cats? Has the relative wealth of Brazil and Argentina prevented environmental devastation in these places? The Gulf Arab countries are extremely wealthy, but my understanding is that they are environmental wrecks.
So much for the “they do it because they are poor” line.

Wolverines In Wyoming

Note: Repost from the old blog.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Nevada, Utah and Colorado, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also four separate posts on the wolverine in California.
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 86 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the state of Wyoming. Wolverines in Wyoming do not seem to be in very good shape, but there are increasing sightings in recent years, and a few have been trapped and road-killed. Further, they seem to be expanding their range.
In Wyoming, wolverines are mostly found in the northwest near Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, where the population at least appears sustainable, particularly in and around Yellowstone.
However, there was a sighting in the Medicine Bow Mountains in Southeastern Wyoming in 1991.

The Medicine Bow Mountains in Southeast Wyoming. A wolverine was sighted here in 1991.

 
A young wolverine was captured only two miles north of Cheyenne, Wyoming, the state capital, in 1998. Cheyenne is a city of 53,000 people.
 

Cattle grazing in Veeda Vou Park north of Cheyenne. A subadult wolverine was captured just two miles north of Cheyenne in 1998.

 
A wolverine was killed by a car along Highway 30 in 2004 near Fossil Butte National Monument near where Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho all come together.

The view down into Chicken Creek that runs through the heart of the Fossil Buttes National Monument in Southwest Wyoming. Fossil Buttes is on the left. A wolverine was roadkilled here in 2004. Some think that wolverines have their winter range in the lower Basin and Range sagebrush zones. Here the terrain is mostly sagebrush, but aspens grow at higher elevations. Very large numbers of fossilized fish have been found in this area.

 
In March 1998, a wolverine killed several sheep east of Buffalo, which is east of the Bighorn Mountains.

Interstate 90 drops down into the Crazy Woman Basin east of Buffalo, Wyoming. A wolverine killed several sheep here in March 1998 and was spotted by a rancher. This area, the Powder River Basin, is undergoing a huge amount of methane natural gas extraction which is sucking a huge amount of water out of the ground and spraying it on the surface. This is causing homeowners’ wells to go dry. They lose all the value of the home, and the natural gas companies refuse to reimburse them because the homeowners do not own the mineral rights under their land. That’s the way capitalism works in America – the score is Capital-100 Humans-0, and masochistic Americans just can’t get enough abuse.There is also a fear that many area watercourses, such as the Powder River and Crazy Woman Creek, are going to dry up part of the year, endangering many fish endemic to the area.

 
In 1996, a wolverine was accidentally trapped near the town of Horse Creek, east of the Laramie Mountains and northwest of Cheyenne.

The scene near Horse Creek, Wyoming, where a wolverine was accidentally trapped in 1996. Actually, most of this area is drier Basin and Range or almost prairie type habitat, complete with buffalo, “hogback” mountains, and real, live cowboys.

 
There are also sightings from the Wyoming Range in Far Western Wyoming south of Jackson Hole. In 2005, a female wolverine was being monitored in the Salt River Range along the Idaho border. She was also using the Wyoming Mountains.

Cottonwood Creek in the Wyoming Range near Piney, Wyoming. A collared and tagged female wolverine was monitored moving through this range in 2005.

 
The Salt River Range is next to the Wyoming Mountains.

First snow on the Salt River Range in Wyoming. A female wolverine was collared and monitored using this range along the Idaho border in 2005.

 
There was a 1997 sighting from the Bighorn Mountains, a range in North-central Wyoming on the Montana border that extends south to near the town of Sheridan.

I spoke with a man recently here in California who saw and heard a wolverine underneath a cabin where he was staying with his sons at 10,000 feet on Cloud Peak in the Bighorn Mountains near Sheridan, Wyoming. The wolverine was rummaging around under the cabin for hours and later was gnawing up a nearby woodpile. The sighting occurred in 1996.

 
Wolverines also are thought to live in the Tetons and the Gros Ventre Range south of Yellowstone and in the Absaroka Range east of Yellowstone near Cody. Jackson Hole is located in the Gros Ventres.
A couple of wolverines were documented on the Wind River Range about 75 miles southeast of Jackson Hole near Lander in recent surveys.
In general, wolverines in Wyoming are thought to be in poor shape. They seem to be slowly recovering territory and spreading out into new areas. One reason for this may be that the large wolf population in Yellowstone is providing a good source of carrion for wolverines with all of the ungulates that they are killing. Another reason may be much less broad-spectrum predator poisoning in the state in the past few decades.

References

Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a rule to list the wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the contiguous United States. Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo).

Wolverines in Nevada

Note: Repost from the old blog.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also five separate posts on the wolverine in California.
This post was split off from an earlier post that got too large, California Wolverine Re-discovered After 86 Years. This particular post will deal with the question of wolverines in the state of Nevada. The standard line is that wolverines do not exist in Nevada and have not been reported there since the late 1800’s, when they were reported from the ranges in the northeastern part of the state.
However, it was recently discovered that there was a verifiable wolverine sighting in far east-central Nevada close to the Utah border, near Great Basin National Park, in 1972.
But given that wolverines seem to be in the process of recovering their range in the Western US, it seems plausible that wolverines may reappear in Nevada at some date. They have been seen on Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon near the Nevada border. It is also possible that they may drift down from southern Oregon into northern Nevada.
At any rate, this post will examine historical locations for wolverines in Nevada, and include photos of the ranges where they may have been spotted.
John Muir reported wolverine tracks from Wheeler Mountain (map here) in what is now Great Basin National Park in 1878, but there were no sightings. Since then, a wolverine skull was found in Snake Creek Burial Cave near Great Basin National Park 11.3 miles south of Baker, Nevada, and only 2 1/4 miles west of the Utah border.
That skull was found amidst bones from over 10,000 years ago and has not yet been dated, so it may not be a recent find. On the other hand, the Pleistocene assemblage at that elevation continues to occur nearby in Great Basin National Park, albeit at higher elevations. The nearest known occurrence of a wolverine to the Sand Creek skull is in Utah, 93 miles to the east near Fillmore in Millard County.

Fillmore, Utah, the nearest wolverine sighting to the skull found at Sand Creek Cave, Nevada. It’s amazing that wolverines can live in this kind of high Basin and Range territory. There is very similar terrain on Highway 395 north of the California border on the way to Carson City, which I visited 21 years ago. Pinyon-juniper is common in this terrain.

In addition to Muir’s report, there are reports from pre-1900 of wolverines in the northeastern part of Nevada.


Snowside Gulch in the Jarbridge Wilderness in northeastern Nevada. The Jarbridge Mountains are to the north of both the East Humboldt and Ruby Mountains and rest on the border with Idaho. Wolverines may have occurred in this range before 1900.

The Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada. This may have been one of the ranges where wolverines occurred in Nevada pre-1900.

Chimney Rock in the East Humboldt Range to the north of the Ruby Mountains in northeastern Nevada. Wolverines may have occurred here before 1900.

References

Aubry, KB, McKelvey, KS, Copeland, JP. 2007. Distribution and Broadscale Habitat Relations of the Wolverine in the Contiguous United States. Journal of Wildlife Management 71(7): 148-158.Barker, M. S., Jr., and Best, T. L. (1976). The Wolverine (Gulo Luscus) in Nevada. The Southwestern Naturalist, 21:133.
Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. (2000). Petition for a Rule to List the Wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the Contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
Predator Conservation Alliance. (2001) Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo).

More California Wolverine Photos in the Sierra

Note: Repost from the old blog.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and Colorado, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also four other posts on the wolverine in California.
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).
Click the wolverines label at the end of the post to see other posts on wolverines in the US, including many sighting reports and photos.

California Wolverine Re-discovered After 86 Years

Note: Repost from the old blog.
Separate posts on this blog deal extensively with wolverines in Oregon, Washington, Idaho (here and here), Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and Colorado, the Upper Midwest and New Mexico. There are also four other posts on the wolverine in California.
In stunning news, researchers at Oregon State University snapped a photo of a possible California Wolverine (Gulo gulo luteus) north of Lake Tahoe between Truckee and Sierraville in the Tahoe National Forest. This is the first proven detection of a wolverine in California in 86 years – the last one was shot dead in 1922.
The actual location was on Sagehen Road in the Sagehen Creek area at the Sagehen Creek Field Station. This station is in the Sagehen Creek Experimental Forest. The field station itself, where the photo was taken, is at 6,375 feet.
California wolverines seem to exist more at lower elevations as one travels north in California. Towards the south in the Sierra Nevada, they are found more at 8,000-9,000 feet if sightings are any guide. It is 8.4 miles north of Truckee and 20 miles north of Lake Tahoe. Sagehen Basin itself ranges from 5,900 to 8,700 feet.
Despite much theory stating that wolverines hate any human presence, the area where the photo was taken is only 1.5 miles away from a major highway, Highway 89.
An excellent brochure about the Sagehen Creek area, listing hydrology, geology, geography, botany and biology, including insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, is here. Katie Moriarty, the graduate student who took the photos, was probably staying at the field station, which has excellent lodging facilities for researchers and has served as the study area for more than 80 theses and dissertations.

A photo of the first California Wolverine documented since 1922. This wild region where they were found in being proposed as a wilderness area by Senator Barbara Boxer. The probable proposed area is the proposed Castle Creek Wilderness Area . The photo shows the wolverine from the rear view.It is probably next to a Red Fir. In the background is what appears to be a White Fir and the tree in the foreground looks like some kind of pine. In this part of the Sierras, the Red Fir Zone (where this photo was probably taken) starts around 7,000 feet elevation.A much larger version of this pic, too large to put on this blog, is available here on the researchers’ website.

 
The area is in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern California.
What they mean by confirmed sighting is that it has to be backed up by a photo or a specimen. They say fur or scat also counts, but apparently that is not true, as California wolverines were confirmed via fur samples from Del Norte Siskiyou and Shasta Counties by the California Department of Fish and Game in the late 1980’s.
I know that a wildlife biologist saw one above Bishop, California in 1980, and I understand that there have been a number of other sightings by biologists. There have been quite regular sightings of these very elusive animals in California down through the years.
Live wolverines have also been trapped in far northern Washington state in the Cascades near the Canadian border in the past couple of years.
The natural range of the California wolverine extends in California only and has been separated from wolverines in the Washington Cascades for at least 2,000 years, according to genetic studies. As a subspecies, it is controversial and is not yet accepted across the board by the scientific community.
The first description of a California wolverine was published in the Field Columbian Museum of Zoology Zoological Series in 1903 (rare online copy here). You can see in the description of the type specimen from Mount Whitney that the California wolverine was much paler than the wolverine normally found in the rest of North America.
The California wolverine is a subspecies of wolverine that split off from other branches about 2,000-11,000 years ago. The California wolverine formerly ranged into the Cascades of California and even over towards the Coast in the Northern Coast Range all the way down to San Fransisco.
It then ranged down the Sierra Nevada Mountains all the way down to the southern end of the range at the Southern Sierra Wilderness, where they were last sighted in the 1950’s. Monache Meadows is usually given as the southern end of the range, but the Southern Sierra Wilderness is south of there.
Based on sightings, it was felt that the California wolverine had declined to a very low level near extinction in the early 1930’s and then the population had been increasing slowly ever since. William Zielinski is an expert on wolverines who participated in this study.
Thomas Kucera, a researcher at San Fransisco State University, undertook a wolverine survey in the state in the early 1990’s with bait stations and cameras.
They saw quite a few animals, including many martens, a few fishers, coyotes, bears, bobcats, and mountain lions, but they found no wolverines in the exhaustive survey. The guarded conclusion then was that California wolverines were extinct in the state. I did a web search on the California Wolverine recently and most experts were saying that the the general conclusion was that they were gone from the state.
I never thought this animal went extinct in the state because I was aware of regular sightings, mostly around the Sierra National Forest, which is near where I lived for 16 years. Around 1990, tracks were sighted near Courtright Reservoir at 8,200 feet near Kings Canyon National Park in the southern Sierra National Forest. A local Forest Service biologist had seen the tracks.

California wolverine tracks were seen here, at Courtright Reservoir, in 1990. The tracks were verified by a Forest Service biologist, but this counts as an unverified sighting, since tracks don’t count (Go figure!)

 
In 2004, apparent wolverine tracks were photographed on the trail up to Gabbot Pass west of Bishop by a group of hikers from Australia.

Possible wolverine tracks photographed in July 2004 at Gabbot Pass on the Sierra Crest west of Bishop by Australians David Noble and Lizzy Went. There have been consistent sightings in the area west of Bishop and east of Courtright Reservoir and just north of Kings Canyon National Park over a 28-year period now.
The view from Gabbot Pass is at 12,240 feet, where an unverified sighting of wolverine tracks was made in July 2004.

 
There was also a sighting in 1994 in Kaiser Pass near Huntington Lake at about 9,200 feet in the Sierra National Forest. The local Forest Service biologist said she believed the man who saw it.

Kaiser Pass east of Huntington Lake in the High Sierras. I was here in the summer of 1991 when I drove a relative and a friend to a drop-off at Florence Lake further on down the road. The road across Kaiser Pass was truly horrid and terrifying at the time and I doubt if it has been improved. It’s beautiful up there though, and if you get the chance, check it out. A unverified sighting of a California wolverine was reported here in 1994.

 
In 1979, a wolverine was spotted at Hilton Creek Lakes near Mt. Stanford (map). This area is east of Lake Edison and west of Tom’s Place in the John Muir Wilderness on the Sierra National Forest.

Hilton Creek Lakes in the John Muir Wilderness, elevation 10,705 feet. This area is near Stanford Peak. Access is out of the Rock Creek Trailhead on the East Side of the Sierras. A wolverine was seen here in 1979.

 
In September 2010, a wolverine was seen on the Pacific Crest Trail near Red Cones, which is near Devil’s Postpile and Mammoth Mountain.
In 1992 and 1993, a Biology teacher at the local high school in Oakhurst, Gary Spence, saw them two years in a row at Spotted Lakes (9,100 feet) in the far southeast corner of Yosemite National Park near the National Forest border. Spence is a good biologist and he used to go out on field surveys with the local Forest Service biologist.
In 2004, there was a reported sighting north of Polly Dome Lakes at 8,500 feet near Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.

The Polly Dome Lakes near Lake Tenaya, where there is an unverified California wolverine sighting from 2004. I was here in the Summer of 2003. I stayed at White Wolf campground and paid money for a cabin. Any lazy, old or out of shape person can do this, even you!
You drive your car into the campground and stay in a cabin! All you need is money. I even, at age 46, hiked up the murderous trail to Lukens Lake. You can do this too! All you need to do is get off your butt. Along the way, I saw a shrew running along the forest floor. Come on, when do you ever see such a thing?
I took a drive one day down the Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows and went by Lake Tenaya, where the scenery looks about like this. This part of Yosemite is beautiful! If you are in the area, take a drive up there in the summertime. There’s a nice highway, you don’t have to worry about a thing, and you are in the most beautiful scenery on Earth.

 
Around 1990, a wolverine was spotted on the back side of Lembert Dome in Tuolumne Meadows in the middle of winter.
In 2005, a wolverine was spotted in Tuolumne Meadows, again in winter. The observer had taken zoology courses at UCLA for seven years.
Another was seen in Lyell Canyon at 8,900 feet in eastern Yosemite in 1997.

Lyell Canyon in Yosemite National Park, where there was an unverified California wolverine sighting in 1997. This area is east of the Tuolumne River and southeast of Tuolumne Meadows. The Pacific Crest Trail runs through here, and Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep are known to exist in this area. Bighorns have been being devastated lately by mountain lions. This is poorly understood.
 
It appears that Bighorns are staying up high to avoid the mountain lions instead of migrating downslope as they normally do. Hence, they are being killed by avalanches when they stay in the high elevations for the winter. Bighorns and mountain lions evolved together, and it is not known why this dynamic is occurring. Domestic sheep grazing in this area is totally pointless, and is ongoing.

 
Also in 1997, there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine off Highway 120 just after it passes Tioga Pass to the east, looking down into Lee Vining Canyon. The wolverine was sighted running away about 1,000 feet down below.

Lee Vining Canyon just east of Tioga Pass. I was near Tioga Pass in August 2003, but I did not continue down the road a ways to the pass itself. In 1997, there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine running away over a snowy ridge about 1,000 feet below near where this photo was taken. Tioga Pass is at 9,943 feet, so the wolverine was at about 9,000 feet.

 
North of Yosemite, on the Stanislaus National Forest, there was a wolverine sighting on the Emigrant Wilderness in 1990.
North and east of Yosemite, in the Hoover Wilderness Area, wolverines are said to persist. One was spotted there near the Virginia Lakes in the 1970’s.
In 2001, a biologist spotted a wolverine somewhere on the Stanislaus National Forest, but the location was not given.
There have also been wolverine sightings in the Pacific Valley area north of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, an area that connects the Carson-Iceberg with the Mokelumne Wilderness on the Eldorado National Forest. Pacific Valley (map) is being considered as an addition to the Carson-Iceberg. The date of this sighting is not known.
There has also been a sighting of a wolverine four miles west of the Snow Canyon Research Natural Area on the Amador Ranger District of the El Dorado National Forest. This area is near Highway 88 about three miles south of Carson Pass, and part of it is in the Mokelumne Wilderness.
In 1978, there was an unverified sighting of a wolverine near Disaster Peak (10,047 feet) in the Sonora Pass area in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. I went through the Sonora Pass area in 1987.
The area to the west of Lake Tahoe continues to get sightings. A sighting was reported from Island Lake in the Desolation Wilderness Area just southwest of Lake Tahoe in 1994. Another sighting was from the north shore of Loon Lake Reservoir near Lake Tahoe on the El Dorado National Forest on July 7, 1994. This is a few miles to the west of the Desolation Wilderness.

A Panorama of Loon Lake Reservoir west of the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe. A wolverine was seen here in 1994.

 
In addition, there are wolverine sightings to the southeast, near South Lake Tahoe. In 1990, a wolverine was sighted 2 miles from where Highways 50 and 89 meet in South Lake Tahoe and the southern end of the lake (map). This area is close to Emerald Bay, DL Bliss and Sugar Pine Point State Parks. I have been to all of these parks on the shore of Lake Tahoe, but that was 30 years ago. It’s a beautiful place.
That very wild area north of Lake Tahoe, especially the Granite Chief Wilderness, was considered to be one of the most likely places for the California Wolverine to be found due to the very high number of sightings in the area. In 2000, there was an excellent sighting of tracks in this area.
For example, a wolverine was sighted in 1991 in the Euer Valley on the Truckee Ranger District. A wolverine was seen in 1992 in the Harding Point area, northeast of Sierraville, and this sighting was confirmed by tracks.
On the Downieville Ranger District, a wolverine was sighted in 1989 in the Haskell Peak area, another was seen in 1990 in the Upper Sardine Lake area, one was seen in 1993 in the Gold Lake Road and Salmon Lakes Road area, and in 1998, one was seen near Bassett’s Station.
On the Foresthill Ranger District, there were two wolverine sightings by wildlife biologists. The first was seen in the Robinson Flat area in 1980, and the second was seen in 1992 in the Granite Chief Wilderness Area. All of these sightings were on the Tahoe National Forest.
In addition, in the Duncan Canyon Proposed Wilderness Area, there have been two wolverine sightings in recent years. This area is near French Meadows Reservoir.
Also on the Tahoe, three years ago, a wildlife biologist at the San Fransisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus near Bassetts, 32 miles northwest of where this photo was taken, saw a California wolverine. That is also on the Tahoe National Forest.

San Fransisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Station, 32 miles northwest of the Sagehen Creek photo site. There was an unverified sighting of a California wolverine here by a wildlife biologist in 2005.

 
About 25 years ago, the district ranger of the Sierraville Ranger District, near where this photo was taken, saw a California wolverine running down a road in the middle of the day.
There was also an undocumented sighting of a California wolverine 4 miles west of Truckee on Highway 80. It had scavenged road kill from this busy interstate highway and was dragging it down into the rocks to eat it. I traveled over Donner Pass in Summer 1979. It’s quite a beautiful area.


Approaching Donner Pass from the east. Highway 80 does not actually cross Donner Pass itself anymore, but actually goes 2 miles to the north at Euer Saddle. Donner Pass gets 415 inches of snow a year, making it one of the snowiest places in the US. Wind gusts of over 100 miles an hour are common during winter storms.

This is where the famous Donner Party tried to cross into California in the winter of 1846-47, became trapped, turned cannibal and half of them died of starvation. There was an undocumented sighting of a California wolverine here in 2004 dragging roadkill off the highway to eat it. There have been sightings north of Tahoe National Forest. Forest Service employees have made quite a few wolverine sightings in both the northern Tahoe National Forest and in the southern Plumas National Forest in recent years.
In 1993, a wildlife biologist on the Lassen National Forest sighted a wolverine in a den near the headwaters of Deer Creek at 5,000 feet (note that even sightings by wildlife biologists are said to be unconfirmed). This area is near Child’s Meadow and is next to the southern border of Lassen National Park.

Child’s Meadow at the headwaters of Deer Creek near the southern boundary of Lassen National Forest. A wildlife biologist spotted a wolverine in a den here in 1993.

Those who keep saying that California wolverines no longer exist ought to note that all sightings are regarded as unconfirmed, even those by wildlife biologists.
Tracks are also regarded as unconfirmed sightings. This area was in private hands and was recently purchased by the Nature Conservancy. Incredibly, the private landowner wanted to put a golf course in here!
 
Lassen National Park’s draft management plan proposes to reintroduce wolverines to the park.
There have also been sightings at Green Island Lakes, a National Forest Service Research Station at 6,100 feet in the Lassen National Forest in Plumas County.
Wolverines have also been sighted around Eagle Lake on the Lassen National Forest.
There have also been two sightings on the Collins-Almanor Forest, a large commercial forest northwest of Lake Almanor. This area is where the northern Sierra Nevada meets the Southern Cascades.
On the North Coast and in the California Cascades, there have been wolverine sightings in Del Norte and Trinity Counties east through Siskiyou and Shasta Counties.
In Shasta County, recent sightings are known from the Big Bend area north of Montgomery Creek near Burney Falls. There have been sightings in the lower Pit River watershed near Carberry Flat and on the Lassen National Forest at Bald Mountain and Kosk Creek Basin.
There were a number of sightings in this area from 1960 to 1974. For instance, there was a sighting six miles north of Hyampom Road near Hyampom in 1974. Sightings are ongoing. A wolverine was seen in Corral Bottom, 10 miles north of Hyampom, in the winter of 1989. It ran along the road in the snow for a hundred yards or so, then disappeared into a water cave in the three foot deep snow. Wolverine tracks were seen two times in Hyampom in the winter of 2010. Hyampom is located east of Eureka in the Trinity Alps.

The very deep forest on the road between Hyampom and Hayfork in Trinity County. A wolverine was spotted here in 1974.

 
In 1980, Forest Service personnel on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest observed a wolverine on the Lower McCloud River at Chatterdown Creek several miles downstream from the Nature Conservancy McCloud River Reserve. This sighting was in Shasta County.

The Lower McCloud River at Ah-Di-Nah near the Nature Conservancy Reserve. Note the very deep forest here. A wolverine was sighted near here by Forest Service workers in 1980. Photo by Lily G. Stephen.

 
The most recent sighting of a wolverine on the Klamath River was at Dillon Creek on the Klamath National Forest, 20 miles below Happy Camp (map). This sighting occurred in Siskiyou County. The elevation here appears to be only 500 feet. Wolverines occur in deep forest at much lower elevations on the North Coast.

Dillon Creek on the Klamath National Forest is a Class V+ rapids stream. This area is extremely rugged, and it is almost impossible to hike out of this canyon. A wolverine was sighted in this area fairly recently.

 
There were numerous wolverine sightings in the Klamath Mountains of California in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Wolverines in this part of California tend to use lower elevations and are not so restricted to the subalpine zone.
According to new data, the wolverine in this photo is from the Rocky Mountains and is not a California wolverine. Reginald Barrett, dean of furbearer studies in the West, told me in an in a recent interview that he felt that this wolverine had come down from Idaho through the Great Basin into California.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, California Wolverines never left this state.
Wolverines are known to exist in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota and Michigan. Wolverines are thought to be secure and not endangered in the Idaho Sawtooths at the moment.
They were formerly present in many other states in the US, including Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, South Dakota, Nebraska (!), Iowa (!), Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland (!), New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. A good historical and present range map is here (Figure 2).
There are 14 different subspecies of the wolverine. The species is more or less circumpolar, ranging from northern Canada to Alaska across Siberia to Finland, Sweden and Norway. There are 500 wolverines in Scandinavia and 1,500 in Russia. They formerly occurred all through Norway and into southern Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and northeastern Poland.
The southern populations have been extirpated except for a wolverine recorded in Estonia in 1986, which means they may be reclaiming former habitat there.
In Sweden they are limited to the far northwest where their numbers are growing but their distribution is irregular. There are 265 wolverines in Sweden. The population declined from 1870 to 1970, when they received protection. Since 1970, the population has been growing.
There are 150 wolverines in Norway. 100 years ago, they ranged through the whole country, but since then, they have been aggressively hunted to where they were limited to the north. Since 1970, they have recolonized the south-central area and remain in the north. Protections are in place.
In Finland it is an endangered species with a population of about 115. At the turn of the century, 50 wolverines a year were killed there. They then declined until they were protected in 1982. A good report on wolverines in Scandinavia is here.
They are still common, though declining, in Russia, where they are common in the far east. The are most common in the Komi region (wolverine population 880). With the return to capitalism, they have undergone radical declines in the Kola (pop. 160) and Karelia (wolverine population 80) regions. The chaos and insanity of the return to capitalism have probably resulted in unrestricted hunting in Russia.
There is estimated to be a population of 200 wolverines in the Greater Khingan Range of Inner Mongolia in northeast China. It is thought to be declining. There formerly was a population to the west in the Altai Mountains in Sinkiang Province, but they have not been seen there since the 1990’s. Poaching is thought to be the major threat in China.
They were formerly found through much Canada but are now uncommon in Ontario (though increasing), extremely rare in Quebec and extirpated from Labrador. An excellent report on wolverines in Ontario can be found on the Internet on the Wolverine Foundation’s site here.
In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, they are declining and are now found only in the northern parts of the provinces. They used to be found all through the forested areas of Alberta but are now limited to the Rockies and remote areas in the north.
They are common all through British Colombia except for the agricultural areas of the south and throughout the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. A subspecies on Vancouver Island is thought to be extirpated. It has not been seen since 1992. There is a horrible amount of logging occurring on that island.
Populations in the north are estimated at 4,200 south of the 66th parallel. They may be more common in the Yukon than anywhere else on Earth other than the North Slope of Alaska. A great report on wolverines in Canada is here .
They are common in Alaska but sporadic on the islands of the southeast.
Wolverines have a reputation for being solitary and antisocial creatures. It is said that they are barely social enough to reproduce. Nevertheless, there is a good bond between mothers and kits. Kits are known to stay with the mother for up to 14-15 months. That is a very long time for a mammal.
The notion that wolverines are like orangutans in being antisocial loners in being challenged. Findings out of research in Idaho’s Sawtooths have shown a three-year old male traveling with a male juvenile, showing him the ropes, how to avoid predators and find food. They also saw a grown male playing with a juvenile female in a meadow.
Previously it was thought that females alone raised kits, and males had nothing to do with their offspring like mountain lions and so many other mammals. Females reportedly remember their natal dens and recover them when their mother dies. Males may assume the role of patriarch by fathering kits with multiple females and may visit the females periodically. The legend of wolverine unsociability may have to be rewritten.
In the West, dens are made very high in the mountains near treeline. Denning is probably the major risk to wolverines in the US, as mothers readily abandon dens at the slightest disturbance. Hence, we may need to limit snowmobiling and cross-country skiing to help preserve American wolverines.
I do not think logging has much of an effect on wolverines, since they live at such high elevations. It may even be beneficial if it increases the numbers of rodents, which they prey heavily on.
Wolverines are said to be scavengers, and there is something to this, but they are also omnivores who eat just about anything. The wolverine covers amazing distances in its never-ending search for feed. They are so ferocious that they have very few enemies.
There is a recorded instance of a wolverine stealing a mountain lion’s kill and then chasing the puma away. However, a black bear was recently recorded killing a wolverine in Yellowstone National Park. The intrepid and ferocious wolverine had tried to steal the bear’s elk kill right out from under the bear’s paws.
The wolverine is member of the weasel family, and it is best described as a weasel on steroids blown up to King Kong size. They have a reputation for ferocity and viciousness. This reputation is derived in part from the tales of fur trappers.
Wolverines were notorious for following fur trappers along their lines and destroying and eating any animals caught in traps. To trappers it often seemed that the wolverine was doing this out of pure spite. Wolverines also had a reputation for entering trapper’s cabins when trappers were away and destroying everything inside. To top it off, they would spray their foul scent from their glands all over the cabin.
 

A wolverine is hardly man’s best friend. Here a sweet, cuddly wolverine purrs and spreads the love around. Old-timers in the Truckee area, near where the photo was shot on February 28, say it takes only two swoops of those claws to kill a dog. The old-timers said that wolverines in that area “lived in holes”. I have seen the claws on a road-killed badger, though, and those were just amazing.

It is often said that wolverines love wilderness and refuse to have anything to do with humans. This is not necessarily true. In northern Ontario, many sightings were made by trappers within 1/2 mile of Amerindian settlements. In the Yukon, wolverines frequently raid garbage dumps on the outskirts of towns.
In Scandinavia, they prey quite heavily on sheep and reindeer, such that they are becoming a major predator problem. Further, they are recolonizing former territory that is now inhabited by humans, with homes, towns, roads, etc.
Wolverine fur is very valuable. It is the only fur that has the ability to withstand frost without freezing over. Hence it is often used to line the areas of parkas right around the mouth where the breath comes out. Otherwise, moist breath tends to cause frost buildup around the parka wearer’s mouth.
The low elevation record for a wolverine in California is an unbelievable 1,300 feet in Tulare County.
Conservation organizations have repeatedly petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service over the past decade to list the wolverine in the lower 48 as an endangered species. The petitions are constantly returned on a Catch-22 basis – the wolverine has to be studied, especially population dynamics, to determine if it qualifies as an endangered species, and it is so rare that it is almost impossible to study it.
Earlier, a wolverine petition was returned by the Bush Administration as invalid. After that, on March 11, 2008, the Bush Administration denied listing the wolverine in the Lower 48 on the basis that healthy populations in Canada and Alaska should be able to keep the wolverine from going extinct even if the wolverine is extirpated from the Lower 48.
In this, the Bush Administration took a new tack. Under Clinton and probably under all previous Presidents, a number of species were listed even though they had healthy populations in Alaska and Canada . After all, most of us live in the Lower 48, not Alaska, Canada or Mexico. And it seems odd to depend on the kindness of nations to the north and south of us to keep species from going extinct.
One problem of the lack of listing of wolverines is that wolverines can still be trapped. 8-18 are trapped every year in Montana, and biologists feel that none should be trapped anymore in the state. It appears that trapping in Montana is untenable based on new evidence.
A great wolverine article is here. It’s written by Physical Geography Professor Randall J. Schaetzl of Michigan State University. Among many other fascinating observations, he notes that the last Michigan wolverine was killed in 1860, not the early 1800’s. So the Ubly sighting was the first in about 150 years, not 200 years as most references state.

References

Armentrout, S. et al (Watershed Analysis Team). 1998. Watershed Analysis For Mill, Deer, and Antelope Creeks. Almanor Ranger District, Lassen National Forest, National Forest Service, USDA.
Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Conservation Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, and Superior Wilderness Action Network. 2000. Petition for a rule to list the wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as Threatened or Endangered under the Endangered Species Act within the contiguous United States . Submitted to the U.S. Dept. of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service on July 11, 2000.
California Department of Transportation. 2007. ED-89 PM 8.6-13.8 Water Quality Improvements U.S. Highway 50/State Route 89 “Y” to Cascade Road. El Dorado County, CA. Initial Study with Proposed Negative Declaration. Marysville, CA: Caltrans Office of Environmental Management.
Devine Tarbell & Associates, Inc. Sacramento Municipal Utility District. 2004. Upper American River Project (FERC No. 2101). Mesocarnivore Technical Report. Sacramento Municipal Utility District: Sacramento, CA
Elliot, Daniel Giraud. 1903. Descriptions Of Twenty-Seven Apparently New Species And Subspecies Of Mammals. All But Six Collected By Edmund Heller. Publication No. 87. Volume Fieldiana Zoology 3:14. Chicago: Field Columbian Museum.
Groves, Craig R. 1988. Distribution of the wolverine in Idaho as determined by mail questionnaire. Northwest Science 62(4):181-5.
Hesseldenz, Thomas F. 1981. Developing a Long-Term Protection Plan for the McCloud River, California . Paper presented at the California Riparian Systems Conference, University of California, Davis, September 17-19, 1981.
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. 2005. Heavenly Mountain Resort Master Plan Amendment 2005. USFS, USDA.
Lassen County Planning Department. 1981. The Eagle Lake Area Plan, A Part of the Lassen County General Plan 1990. Lassen County, CA.
Moyle, P.B., P.L. Randall, and R.M. Yoshiyama. 1996. Potential Aquatic Diversity Management Areas in the Sierra Nevada. In Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project: Final report to Congress, Vol III, Chap. 9, p. 15. Davis: University of California, Centers for Water and Wildland Resources.
Nachlinger, Janet, and Miller, Connie, editor. 2002. An Ecological Survey Of The Snow Canyon Research Natural Area, Eldorado National Forest, California . Berkeley, CA: Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experimental Station.
Pace, Felice. 2008. Protecting Far Northern California’s
Unprotected Wilderness – Time to Rethink California Wilderness Strategy?
Sierra Club California/Nevada Regional Wilderness Committee. Words of the Wild XI:1. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club.
Predator Conservation Alliance. 2001. Predator Conservation Alliance’s Literature Summary – Draft – January 24, 2001 – Draft Conservation Status and Needs of the Wolverine (Gulo gulo) .
Randla, T. 1986. On a New Occurrence of Wolverine in Estonia. Eesti Ulukik: 4: 77-78.
Schempf, P. F., and M. White. 1977. Status of Six Furbearer Populations in the Mountains of Northern California. USDA Forest Service, California Region: San Francisco.
Shasta County Board of Supervisors. 1993. Shasta County General Plan. Redding, CA: Shasta County Department of Resource Management, Planning Division.
Stanislaus National Forest. 2001. California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, 2001/2002 OHV Grant and Cooperative Agreement Application, Wildlife Habitat Protection Plan. USDA, USFS.
Southern California Edison Company. 2001. Final Technical Study Plan Package (FTSPP) for the Big Creek Hydroelectric Projects (FERC Project Nos. 67, 120, 2085, and 2175). Terrestrial Resources – Chapter 13 – Mesocarnivores. Rosemead, CA.
Tahoe National Forest. 2002. Final Environmental Impact Statement. Red Star Restoration Project. USDA, USFS, Pacific Southwest Region: Forestville, CA.
TC Dot and Hughes Environmental Consultants. 2003. Trinity County Hyampom Road Improvements Project Draft Environmental Impact Report. Trinity County Planning Department, Trinity County, CA.
Zhang, M-H., Liu, Q-X., Piao, R-Z. & Jiang, G-H. 2007. The Wolverine Gulo Gulo Population and its Distribution in the Great Khingan Mountains, Northeastern China. Wildlife Biology 13(2): 83-88.

A Look At Beavers

The other day, coming back from Fresno on Highway 41, about .6 mile south of the Bates Station Road turnout just below the 1000 foot elevation sign (see map), I saw a strange dead animal on the side of the road. This is open range country, with almost no homes around, mostly just grazing land, near the old town of Bates Station (description here, photo here). The terrain is Blue Oak Woodland.
I’ve seen some other strange animals road-killed in the same area – a badger a few years ago. Badgers are about as common in this part of Madera County as they are anywhere in California. Anyway, being an amateur naturalist, I got out and pulled over. It was a dead beaver, by the side of the highway! If you look at the photo of the terrain, it’s not exactly the place you would expect to find beavers.
I’ve never seen a beaver up close before, and the size of it shocked me. These things are huge, and they are very fat. And the paddle is very large. I looked down and saw a small stream flowing under the highway (see the stream on the map here). The stream isn’t large at all, and I would say that that beaver was wider than the damned stream, so it didn’t make sense that it was living in the stream.
Then I looked across the highway and saw a lake on a dammed part of the stream. I don’t know if the beavers created that dam or what, but that beaver was obviously living in that lake. What’s weird is why would a beaver try to cross a highway, much less 100 yards away from the pond where it lives. Well, these things do range up 1/4 mile away from their pond, but almost always at night.
Why wander away? Probably looking for trees to chop down. Beavers chop down trees, to eat the bark, leaves and twigs and to use the wood to make their dams and the wooden lodges where they live. They also feed on water plants like cattails, reeds and pond lilies.
A beaver is basically just a gigantic rat. That’s all it is. But rats are smarter than you think they are. Rats are quite intelligent for what they are, rodents. And the beaver is extremely smart, albeit in a rodent sort of way. First of all, its lodges are so expertly made that no predator, not even a wolverine, can get into them, and a wolverine can get into about anything less secure than a locked bank vault.
And I’m not sure if this is urban legend, but water engineers supposedly marvel at beaver dams. They look at them and say, “I can’t believe they did that.” The beaver is an expert at his dam-building. Experiments have been done by poking tiny holes in the dams, holes that would be hard to find or even discover that they existed. By nightfall, the beavers quickly discover the hole and patch it up.
Beavers are actually very beneficial, and ecosystems in North America and Europe probably evolved with them. It’s thought that much of the rich bottomland in the US was created in part by beavers over thousands of years. Beaver dams remove pollutants, clean the water, are good for flood control, and regulate the water cycle.
Here in California, that’s important. So streams and rivers here with beaver dams on them have lessened high flows in the rainy seasons (fewer floods) and increased flows in the dry season (more likely to flow all year instead of being seasonal as so many streams are here). After a few years, beavers abandon their dams as they cut down most of the small trees in the area.
After they leave, the dam breaks down and the area turns into a wetland. Then it turns into a meadow as grasses and forbs move in. Next it becomes a riverine riparian forest, by which time, the beavers are back and the cycle begins again. The result is a creation of a serious of rich bottomlands created by all of the decayed wood at the bottom of the beaver pond.
Beavers in the US and Canada were decimated by the fur trade for beaver pelts. I guess they are pretty easy to trap. The beaver pelts had many uses, but many were made into beaverskin hats.
In Europe, beavers were also trapped out, mostly for the camphor or camphorum, a medicine that comes from the beaver. This medicine comes from beaver testicles. The beaver is killed and the beaver balls are chopped off. Then the beaver nuts are dried and ground up into castoreum which is apparently consumed as a medicine. It ‘s used as an analgesic.
The castoreum comes from the salicin in the beaver’s diet, which comes from the willow trees that it eats. Salicylic acid from willows is the source of aspirin. There are two species of beaver, the Canada Beaver in the US and Canada and the European Beaver in Europe.
The paddle is used to slap the surface of the water to warn the other beavers of danger in the form of humans or predators. The beaver is not much active by day,  and it stays in the water if it is active. At night, it can leave water and wander. At this time it quite vulnerable to predators as it is slow-moving on land. Nevertheless, it is seldom taken by predators, and the beaver’s worst enemy is man.
Beavers are now plentiful all over the US and Canada again after being nearly trapped to extinction in the 19th Century.
They were transplanted to Tierra del Fuego, where they lacked predators and went invasive, devastating the landscape. The trees on the island do not coppice, so they can’t withstand the beavers’ depredations. Tierra del Fuego is now trying to get rid of its beavers.
In Europe, wild beaver populations still exist in Northern Germany and in parts of Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. They survived only in Norway, but from there they were reintroduced to Sweden and Finland. The Danish population was reintroduced 10 years ago, 1000 years after their extinction. It is now being transplanted to various other places in Europe, including England (see here and here), 500 years after their extinction. There are plans to reintroduce beavers to Scotland this year, 400 years after going extinct.
As an aside, traditionally Catholics were not supposed to eat the meat of land animals on Friday, so Catholics often ate fish instead. There was a big debate in the Catholic Church about beavers. This was resolved by the Church concluding that beavers were fish for the purposes of dietary law. Catholics are idiots, but they are not that stupid. They know full well that a beaver is not a fish. But for dietary law, a beaver was considered a “fish” because any land animal that spends most of its time in water was regarded as a fish.
Hence, Catholics could eat beaver on Fridays. I can see the dirty jokes now, commenters. Beaver, like skunk actually tastes pretty good if you clean it very carefully to keep the skunk-like musk gland from contaminating the meat. While skunk tastes like (Guess what?) chicken, beaver tastes like lean beef, but I’ve yet to take the plunge.
However, with Vatican II, I believe that Catholics no longer have to abstain from meat on Fridays?
Good overview of the beaver in California, but the map is wrong (the beaver ranges further than indicated).

Fox in the Henhouse

You’ve all heard the stories.  A predator gets into a place where there are caged domestic animals, typically fowl, and goes berserk, killing all of them. And typically not even eating one. It’s the non-human equivalent of a serial killer. There’s a little Ted Bundy in every bobcat.
Here in the mountains, we had a similar case a decade or so ago. A bobcat got into the neighbor’s yard and killed every one of his ducks. The owner went outside and found a bobcat asleep in his yard at 5 AM in a fenced-in area full of dead ducks. Commit mass murder, then sleep it off. What the Hell, why not? Serial killing is pretty tiring, physically and emotionally.
Enough of the anecdotes. So why do they do it? People are dying to know.
Via an incredibly obscure website called The Alyth Voice, p. 7 “Foxy Business”, our curiosity is sated. What’s The Alyth Voice? Why, it’s only the local bimonthly scribblesheet of some podunk town in Scotland called Alyth in some place called Perthshire.
There are two theories.
First is pure instinct. Foxes and bobcats are smarter than Fido and Fluffy, the domesticated versions, but that ain’t saying much. They’re still emotional robots with stunted frontal lobes, like most of the people in our inner cities. The fox gets into the henhouse, sees all the hens racing around screeching in terror, and he goes into kill mode. A terrified rooster racing away =  kill. Terrified cries of chicks = destroy. Simple equations.  The predator has no choice but to commit mass homicide.
Another more civilized theory says that the predator is a forward-thinking beast, unlike our inner city residents. Sure, he kills way more than he eats, but he only kills to eat, not for kicks like Boston Strangler. He really does intend to come back and chow down all those dead chickens sometime. When? Oh, later.
Yeah right. I go with Theory #1.
Think of it in human terms. Pretend you’re in a porno movie,  except it’s happening in r/l meatspace. You’re been kidnapped and locked in a house full of gorgeous 18 year old females having a mass birthday party. They’re all naked and masturbating, screaming, “Fuck Me!” And they won’t even get jealous if you fuck the other ones. Instead they’ll just yell, “Hurry up and get over here you bastard!”
Your girlfriend/wife is waiting, and you promised to call her, plus you took a vow of fidelity. You can strip of all of your clothes, run around to each of the 10 nubiles, stick your dick in each one for a bit assuming you don’t hair-trigger off, and actually get away with it before you die. It’s almost illegal, but not quite. It’s not serial homicide, but it’s almost as fun.
What do you do? Flashback to Sunday school and race out the door to the nearest payphone and call your girlfriend? Forget it. Like the fox in a henhouse, the forebrain shuts down, you go into limbic mode, and wallow in the temporarily eternal present.
I know it’s a weird analogy, but think about it.