Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 19th, 2009
Researchers at Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) have documented a rare male North American wolverine (Gulo gulo) on SPIs managed forest lands in the Northern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The sighting on SPIs forest lands follows a photo of a wolverine taken by a graduate student in 2008 about 15 miles from the SPI location. Video courtesy of Sierra Pacific Industries. March 18, 2009.
SPI Release By Mark Pawlicki, Sierra Pacific Industries
The endemic wolverine is listed by the State of California as a threatened species and holds special protection status under California law. Until these sightings, the presence of wolverines in the state had not been confirmed since the 1920’s.
Using DNA extracted from hair samples collected at photo stations, Dr. Michael Schwartz at the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station concluded the wolverine was the same individual photographed in both locations. It is not a descendent of the last known Southern Sierra Nevada population. Based on analysis of its DNA, it most closely resembles genetic types found throughout the Northern Rocky Mountains.
The wolverine detections were made using movement-operated cameras as part of SPI’s ongoing comprehensive wildlife monitoring program. The sightings occurred on the company’s forest lands in December and January northwest of Truckee, California. These lands have been privately owned since the 1860’s and have produced forest products since the 1930’s. The most recent harvest in the area occurred in 2008.
“This is a rare and exciting experience for wildlife experts and forest managers,” said SPI biologist Amanda Shufelberger. “Including the wolverine among the 250-plus wildlife species known to inhabit SPI lands is a welcome addition and supports the concept of balancing sustainable production of forest products with the protection of wildlife habitat” noted Shufelberger.
She added that SPI will continue to work cooperatively with the Department of Fish and Game in future forest carnivore surveys.
The North American wolverine is the largest terrestrial member of the weasel family. Adult males weigh 26 to 40 pounds, while females are 17 to 26 pounds. It resembles a small bear, with a bushy tail and broad head. The wolverine’s diet includes carrion, small mammals, birds, insects, berries, and fungi.
U.S. populations are found largely in the Northern Cascades in Washington, the Northern Rockies in Montana and Idaho, and in Alaska. Wolverines have large home ranges that vary greatly depending upon gender, age and food availability.
Sierra Pacific Industries is a third-generation family-owned forest products company based in Anderson, California. Sierra Pacific is committed to managing its lands in a responsible and sustainable manner to protect the environment while providing quality wood products for consumers.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.