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Rare California Wolverine Spotted In Tahoe National Forest [Video]

wolverine

Seeing a wolverine in California is a pretty rare occurrence. In fact, it’s only happened four times in recent years and it usually happens by remote camera. That’s why hiker David Messa was so surprised to see the rare creature running near a small lake in the Tahoe National Forest.

Messa said:

“Quite a pleasure to see something like that. You know, the first day, I actually saw a bald eagle. I thought, well, is the trip gonna get any better than this?”

Messa, who took the photo during a two-day hike in May, said that he spotted the wolverine running over a frozen lake.

Mesa said:

“He was like a bull in a china shop running across that lake. He just probably feared nothing. He was kind of galloping; actually fell through the snow two or three times, turned around and came back, and came across in front of me. I was actually able to get a photo…. And I was just… You know, I’m pretty sure that was a wolverine.”

According to Fox 40, the wolverine is one of the rarest mammals in California. The last time it was seen was in 2008 by a motion sensor camera. Before that, there were only two documented sightings. Messa’s photo has been verified by Wildlife biologists with Fish and Game and the Department of Forestry.

Bill Zielinski, a research ecologist for the Forest Service, said that Messa’s photo proves that there are still wolverines in California.

Zielinskis said:

“The conventional wisdom was that they were pretty much gone from California.”

In 2010, the Denver Post estimated that there were 212 wolverines left in the wild in the continental United States.

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Comments

21 Responses to “Rare California Wolverine Spotted In Tahoe National Forest [Video]”

  1. Jeff Bellagio

    Bull in a China shop, that's the way we love our Wolverines! With only 212 alive in the Continental USA and to see one, Special! Great story for California. Excellent post.

  2. Michael E Norris

    ii've come across wolverines 3 times in my 23 years living in alaska…..and they are afraid of nothing! if you get one cornered? they will attack you!…………i've seen them atack black bear!…pound for pound they can hold their own!!!!

  3. Karen Hopkins Crow

    Which lake was the wolverine seen at? I heard from another website that it was near Spaulding Lake, and "9 miles from the lake in the back-country." I hike and camp near there, and am curious as to the direction from Spaulding and the name of the lake.

  4. Anonymous

    Very cool! I've seen them in the bush in Alaska. Nice to know some are surviving in the Lower 48!

  5. Elaine Samarin

    These things are not endangered, they are very elusive, it is very rare to see one; and most of the time its better off not to see them, they are the meanest animals I have ever seen.

  6. Anonymous

    Could it be a Michigan Wolverine that decidec to see the sights?

  7. Erik Johnson

    ………….to awesome! Even though I see more and more people using our public lands, national and state forests, and wilderness areas; it is pleasing to see so much, much more respect and care of these wonderful places, and preservation of all things wild. It gives me some hope for mankind after all……

  8. Erik Johnson

    ………….to awesome! Even though I see more and more people using our public lands, national and state forests, and wilderness areas; it is pleasing to see so much, much more respect and care of these wonderful places, and preservation of all things wild. It gives me some hope for mankind after all……

  9. Mel Serrano

    When I lived for six years in a little community near the south entrance to Yosemite National Park, I saw all kinds of wildlife. Never a wolverine, though. Black Bears, Foxes(both silver and Red), Pumas, Weasels, Beavers, Eagles(both Bald and Golden), Red Tail Hawks, Gophers, Moles, Raccoons, Chinchillas, Bobcats, Squirrels, Ravens, Hummingbirds, Coyotes, Free Range Cattle, Crayfish, Snakes(Gopher, Racers, Garter, Rattle), Kingfishers, Turkey Vultures, Scorpions, Tarantulas, Ring Neck Doves, California Quail, Bullfrogs, Salamanders, Newts, Mule Deer, Crows, Peregrine Falcons, Mice, Trout(Rainbow, German Brown, and Cutthroat), Great Horned Owls, Barn Owls, an often escaped from the owners Kiwi, Pacific Robin, and of course, the ever-present So Cal and European Tourist. I'm sure I missed some.

  10. Susan Patrick

    At least it is a wolverine unlike the couagar in Salem OR. oh wait that was a house cat.

  11. Anonymous

    I was commissioned to conduct a study on wolverines in the Shasta/Siskiyou area of Northern California some time ago. Prior to the studies, word got around and was amazed by the input of information presented by sportsmen, game wardens, local native Americans and biologists from various government agencies. Judging from the input at the time it was evident that there were few in numbers but the distribution was widespread throughout the Northern portion of the state and on through the Sierras southward. Unfortunately the program was cut short by funding problems. As of now there is a top notch biologist keeping track of some in the Sierras and she is doing a remarkable job.