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.
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.