First California Wolverine Since 1922

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 6th, 2008


A wolverine has been captured on camera by an Oregon State student.

A wolverine has been spotted in the Sierra Nevada mountains for the first time since 1922.

According to CBS5:

A research project aimed at martens has turned up a bigger prize: a picture of a wolverine, an elusive animal scientists feared may have been driven out of the Sierra Nevada long ago by human activity.

The discovery could affect land-use decisions if the wolverine is declared an endangered species, a step the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering, although the animals typically live at high elevations where there is limited development.

A graduate student at Oregon State University, Katie Moriarty, got a picture of a wolverine recently on a motion-and-heat-detecting digital camera set up between Truckee and Sierraville, in the northern part of the mountain range.

Moriarty was trying to get pictures of martens, which are slender brown weasels, for a project she was doing with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station.

She said that when she saw the wolverine in the picture early last Sunday morning it was a “complete shock. It was not something I would expect by any means.”

News of the picture surprised scientists, who thought wolverines, if they still inhabited the Sierra, would be found only in the southern part of the range, not in the Lake Tahoe area.

For the rest of the article, please see here.

Thank you kittenz for the alert on this one.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

17 Responses to “First California Wolverine Since 1922”

  1. DARHOP responds:

    Very very kool!

  2. HOOSIERHUNTER responds:

    Animals are coming back to former habitats and I’m glad to see it. Scientists tend to be a bit narrow-minded sometimes and I’ve often wondered why. Then they seem surprised when something like this occurs.

  3. mystery_man responds:

    Wow, that’s very interesting news however I am not completely surprised. Wolverines are pretty elusive creatures in the best of times, and they are quite tenacious. I’ve long suspected that they are still around in some areas of their former range where they have been declared as absent. Hopefully this finding will get acted on quickly and will be taken seriously enough that measures can be implemented to protect these animals.

  4. Maine Crypto responds:

    This is great to see, especially after seeing wolves coming back to their former habitat as well! Thanks for the heads up, I be this wouldn’t have been on my local news channel!

  5. DWA responds:

    I too wonder why scientists act so shocked seeing things that, well, one might actually expect.

    Wolverines are great wanderers. Much of their traveling seems to be just for the heck of it, although being a terrestrial animal subsisting to a significant extent on carrion, one would think they would have to travel pretty extensively to find enough of that. My understanding has always been that wolverines are present not only in the Sierra but in the Siskiyou of northern CA. That one would sooner or later show up isn’t really that surprising to me; in fact, the headline surprised me because I presumed they were there!

    I just can’t resist what I’m about to add here.

    I’m sure someone will come on and say, so here we have a photo of a relatively small, extremely elusive animal. And the much much bigger sasquatch continues undocumented.

    To that, I can only say:

    1. If we didn’t know the wolverine’s size and general markings, we’d have no idea what that was, other than something furry that looks like an animal shot from behind. (Blobberine.)

    2. The P/G film is much clearer than this photo as to what it depicts. It’s our reaction to it that has “obscured” it.

    3. More people may see sas in a year than see wolverines. Particularly in CA. 😉

    Let’s not hijack this thread. But Loren, there’s an idea for another one! 😀

  6. shumway10973 responds:

    Well, I’m shocked and excited! That’s not too far from here. As mean as they can get, I think they are rather…cute I guess is the right word. I didn’t even know they were ever in California. Now if you could just send them 4 counties south, my family has a ranch where they would be safe (given they behaved themselves and left pets alone).

  7. Little Feat responds:

    Wait just a minute… Is this a photo of a “Normal Non-mangy Wolverine” or a Very Healthy Primate?

  8. sschaper responds:

    I’m not surprised, either. A number of years back there was a ‘black animal’ going south through eastern Iowa, killing dogs. Sounded like a wolverine.

    A couple three years back, a wolverine was caught on a security camera at Zumbrota Ford in SE MN.

    I just saw Loren on Monsterquest about the dog and horse kills up to Rollag. Several animals could have done it, from wolves, to cougars, to wolverines, but recalling the Jack London tale about a miner snowed in his cabin, and the wolverine trying to get at him, and other things I’ve heard about them, the killing for sport, and leaving the carcass without necessarily eating it, does sound like wolverine. And Rollag is many hours north and a couple west of Zumbrota, much closer to the Northwoods than down here.

  9. SOCALcryptid responds:

    Great news, thanks kittenz. I spend a lot of time in the high Sierras here in California fishing and of course searching for my favorite cryptid Sasquatch. If Wolverines are in Oregon, they may also be here in California. The Sierra Nevada Mountains run through Oregon into California and it would be possible for Wolverines to travel south into California along these mountain ranges.
    It makes me happy to know that some species of animals are back in their natural habitat.

  10. dogu4 responds:

    With their low profiles and short powerfull limbs (and jaws) they aren’t very swift as hunters in flatter low aspect terraine, such as the landscape in which this one is photographed. Their association with carrion is well known but I’ve heard that their physiology which also includes incredible sense of smell and fur with anti frost qualities, is a result of their evolution and adaptation to a life of hunting for avalanche and rock slide victims in glacial areas, trundling rocks, ice and logs along rocky valleys and steep unstable moraine and talus. We are often not fully aware that for the last few million years during which wolverines thrived, glaciers which supported a kind of habitat the likes of which remain in only vestigal examples, dominated our northern continental landscape. With the holocene warming the range for which they are natually adapted (physically and instinctively) is the high country above tree line and down into chutes and the stranded glacial moraines which still lie beneath the advancing forests that continue to extend northward. I’d like to see a bit of the Pleistocene restored, wouldn’t we all?

  11. cryptidsrus responds:

    Thanks also, KITTENZ. You rock.

    This is GOOD news. I’m glad all of these creatures that were thought extinct or no longer in a particular place making a comeback. Makes me positive about OUR continuing survival on this earth.


    I agree more people see SAS than wolverines every year—but like you said, let’s not “hijack” this thread. Good points, though.

  12. fallofrain responds:

    I once worked at a ski resort in Central Oregon. Among the sightings of different animals we’d get from skiers were occasional wolverines. It was rare, but nice to know they were still around. I’m happy to see the feisty critters are expanding back to their former range.

  13. maslo63 responds:

    Those game cameras are a God send IMO. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more animal discoveries or re-discoveries with these things being so common now. I have one, I cannot wait to set it up in some remote location. Who knows, perhaps I’ll get an Eastern puma. I was thinking about it just today. Cougars are supposed to be extinct here in NY but most of the state could easily support a small population. I know old timers who have never seen a coyote; a common and not particularly shy predator in this area. A cougar could live it’s entire life and never encounter a human here.

  14. twpiers responds:

    Come now thats obviously a picture of a baby bigfoot hunched over digging for food:) Lol lol lol lol lol

  15. squatch-toba responds:

    These cameras are a great thing!!! I would think that there are, at least, as many sasquatch in California as wolverines, most likely more!! Just a matter of time before some “good” photos of a ‘squatch come to light!!! This was a great bit of news.

  16. Spinach Village responds:

    This is absolutely great news!

    …but I cant help but wonder why if somebody takes a picture of a cougar for instance, in the eastern or midwestern part of the country it is not as warmly received… Not to mention Bigfoots

  17. whiteriverfisherman responds:

    I like to see that. A camera set up remotely that works. Notice how it is obviously a wolverine. Not a skinny bear with its face obscured by its shoulders and chest like the Jacobs video.

    I am glad to see they exist there. I hope they can protect them and possibly help the population grow.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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