wolverine sighting July 2001 or 2002

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wolverine sighting July 2001 or 2002

Post by EZHIKER » Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:04 am

Every year I spend 30-40 days backpacking in the Sierra, about 1/2 off trail. I can not recall if it was July 2001 or 2002. Anyways I had a clear unobstructed sighting of a Wolverine of considerable size, I estimate 30-40 pounds. It was brief 5-10 seconds. The animal was on a snow bank at a distance of approximately 50 meters. It was startled by my presence, it looked straight at me and then took off. I watched it move for approximately 20 meters until it left my view. I retreated to my pack and grabbed my camera and continued up the drainage in hopes of another glimpse. I did not see the animal again. I did not thoroughly seek out foot prints. In my mind, I replayed this encounter countless times, spook with rangers, old timers, and biologists. It took a year of persistent research. I finally discovered a book about the sierra, printed in the 60's, a description of the range and habitat of the wolverine in the sierra. Bingo. I immediately uploaded several photos of wolverine. There could be no mistake. I absolutely, with out doubt had the good fortune of sighting an extremely rare sierra wolverine. I was several 100 meters off trail between Mt. Izaak Walton and Red Slate.
Elevation of was approximately 10,800 ft. I would like to know of other additional sightings. I am familiar with the sighting 3/2008 and the research conducted north of Yosemite. Are there any other hiker out there who can share a similar experience.

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Re: wolverine sighting July 2001 or 2002

Post by gdurkee » Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:52 am

Good sighting. Sequoia Kings gets a sighting about every 3+ years. Yosemite at a somewhat longer interval. A study done a few years ago concluded that Wolverine were extirpated from the Sierra. I don't believe that, but the problem was the biologists looking at the reported sightings over the last 20 odd years didn't accept those records. I guess they needed a photo or dead Wolverine to confirm. A number of the sightings were by NPS personnel and I think legitimate. Also, a couple of people here have reported sightings in both Yosemite and Sequoia Kings.

The other problem is, if the Sierra sightings are valid, where are they coming from?? Is there a breeding population somewhere or, like the Tahoe case, are they traveling a huge distance from the nearest population? There were definite Sierra breeding populations in both Yosemite & Sequoia Kings into the 30s & 40s. Records after that start to decline. The USFS (where you saw yours) doesn't keep very good records so no telling what's been going on there.

Anyway, that was one of those one in a million wildlife observations! Thanks for reporting it.


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