California's Wily Wolverine Returns

Same individual appears in Sierra Forest one year after discovery
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Same individual appears in Sierra Forest one year after discovery

Last year, a lone wolverine made an appearance in the Sierra Nevada mountains outside Truckee, California, becoming the first sighting of the rare mustelid in the state since the 1920s. Now, just over a year later, he's reappeared for scientist's cameras only 15 miles away from his original location.

While researchers were hopeful this might be a different wolverine, which could establish the possibility for a breeding population in California, DNA collected from hair samples found near the camera station indicate that this is the same animal. Still, his relative good health bodes well for potential future reintroduction efforts.

It appears the male wolverine can survive in the area for an extended period of time, said Jeffrey Copeland, wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Mont.

"The photos show it to be a big, fat, healthy animal," Copeland said. "It doesn't seem to be in any distress. He's made it a year and he's finding food."

He's also a bit of a camera whore, but you can't expect him to yield the spotlight so easily after he already got his taste of fame. And while the California wolverine laid pretty low the last year, I have a distinct feeling we'll be seeing much more from him this summer:

—Ted Alvarez

A year later, wolverine spotted in the Sierra (Reno Gazette-Journal)