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.
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.
- 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).