Wolverines in the Sierra

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druid
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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by druid » Mon May 18, 2020 4:34 pm

bobby49 wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 3:10 pm
Years ago I had been reading about wolverines, but of course I had never seen one. Then one summer I had decided to go to Yellowstone for wildlife photography. At the end of my long first day of driving, I stopped in a car campground northwest of Stanley Idaho. I put up a tent, and then I placed my line of jingle bell noisemakers all the way around the campsite, just in the event that any animal wandered close. In the middle of the night, the bells were ringing, so I jumped out of my tent with my camera in hand. I could not find my camera flash, so I just lit up my brightest headlamp. VOILA! One photo of a wolverine!
I'd love to see your picture, even if it's dark and blurry.








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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by MichaelRPetrick » Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:17 pm

Am fairly certain I saw one between Maxson Meadow and Portal Lake yesterday morning around 8700 feet.

At first I thought it was the biggest marmot I'd ever seen, then I realized it was far too long for it's height to be a marmot, and the coat was a rich nearly black brown that wasn't like any marmot I'd ever seen.

Anyone care to know where I can report this (admittedly somewhat shaky) observation?

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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by bobby49 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:33 pm

If it is inside a national park, then you can report it to the contact person for the national park. If it is inside a national forest, then you can report it to the contact person for the national forest.

For example, I was deep inside Sequoia NP one time and photographed a specific bird and noted the GPS coordinates. When I got home and studied the image closely, I figured out that it was something more rare. So, I sent the JPEG image off to the head scientist for Sequoia. He replied immediately and wanted to know the GPS coordinates so that they could put another item on the target list for the next wildlife survey. They do not divulge the image or the location except to authorized searchers. They don't publicize it because they don't want a thousand tourists stomping their way to the spot.

As for wolverines, my experience is limited. I've only seen two now. There are some specific markings on the coat that are a dead giveaway. They are rather rare in California, and there is a confirmed sighting only once every five or ten years.

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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by SSSdave » Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:06 pm

Suspect some sightings are actually weasels, badgers, or pine martens. I did see an American badger about Tioga Meadows, and over decade a few pines marten, and many long-tailed weasels. As a landscape photographer, I often go places few or no others venture and from that am aware there are actually significant trail-less and route-less areas where few or no others have ever gone so they could be in such places. Middle Fork of the Kings has many such places especially opposite trail sides of the difficult to cross river. However one would expect if so occasional offspring would venture away into human traveled areas so that alone says there are likely few.

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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by MichaelRPetrick » Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:58 pm

SSSdave wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:06 pm
Suspect some sightings are actually weasels, badgers, or pine martens. I did see an American badger about Tioga Meadows, and over decade a few pines marten, and many long-tailed weasels. As a landscape photographer, I often go places few or no others venture and from that am aware there are actually significant trail-less and route-less areas where few or no others have ever gone so they could be in such places. Middle Fork of the Kings has many such places especially opposite trail sides of the difficult to cross river. However one would expect if so occasional offspring would venture away into human traveled areas so that alone says there are likely few.
Hmmm... definitely not a weasel or badger, but I do admit it's in the realm of possibility that it was a large pine marten. It would've been a real CHONK though compared to the others I've seen.

However, a Fisher -- something I had not though of -- looks even more like what I saw after seeing this video:

https://www.fs.fed.us/psw/topics/wildli ... ndex.shtml
bobby49 wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:33 pm
If it is inside a national park, then you can report it to the contact person for the national park. If it is inside a national forest, then you can report it to the contact person for the national forest.
Yup, I think I found a USFS research scientist who'd be interested after a little digging.

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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by bobby49 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:47 pm

There is a lot of size difference between a fisher and a wolverine, so I would not expect them to be easily confused.

The book says a fisher is 3-18 pounds, sort of cat-size. A wolverine is 18-42 pounds, sort of dog-size.

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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by MichaelRPetrick » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:07 pm

bobby49 wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:47 pm
There is a lot of size difference between a fisher and a wolverine, so I would not expect them to be easily confused.

The book says a fisher is 3-18 pounds, sort of cat-size. A wolverine is 18-42 pounds, sort of dog-size.
Hm, yeah, this was roughly right in between dog and cat-sized... color and shape were what was most distinctively different/new to me.

I think the rareness of wolverines and the known large population of fishers in the area makes the latter way more likely though. Still neat to have seen!

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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by bobby49 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:28 pm

Fishers tend to be along the western side of the Sierra, although a few get as far east as the Sierra crest. Wolverines, on the other hand, might be thinly scattered all over the place. The place where the park service really understands wolverines is in Glacier National Park. The place where the forest service really understands them is around Stanley Idaho.

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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by bobby49 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:45 pm

Here is my Idaho wolverine photo.
Bob's Idaho wolverine at night.jpg
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Re: Wolverines in the Sierra

Post by ERIC » Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:42 pm

Excellent, Bobby!
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