Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Student Captures Image Of Rare Wolverine In California While Trying To Photograph Birds

Date:
March 9, 2008
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
A rare wolverine has been documented in the Tahoe National Forest -- the first confirmed sighting of the animal in nearly three-quarters of a century. A graduate student had been conducting research in the forest on the effects of landscape change on American martens, a bird species. The project uses a large array of cameras that remotely capture images of martens and other animals through the use of motion sensors or heat detectors. However, one of the cameras captured an image from behind of a larger animal with telltale black and brown markings that experts say is a wolverine.

California wolverine.
Credit: Katie Moriarty

A rare wolverine has been documented in the Tahoe National Forest by a researcher from Oregon State University working with colleagues at the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station – the first confirmed sighting of the animal in nearly three-quarters of a century.

Related Articles


Katie Moriarty, a graduate student in OSU’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, has been conducting research in the forest on the effects of landscape change on American martens. The project, funded primarily by the Pacific Southwest Research Station, uses a large array of cameras that remotely capture images of martens and other animals through the use of motion sensors or heat detectors.

However, one of the cameras captured an image from behind of a larger animal with telltale black and brown markings that experts say is a wolverine.

William J. Zielinski, a research ecologist with the Pacific Southwest Research Station, sent the image to Jeff Copeland, a noted wolverine expert with the Rocky Mountain Research Station. Copeland said he “couldn’t convert it into anything else” other than a wolverine. “It looks like the real deal,” Copeland added.

The North American wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family. Adult males weigh 26 to 40 pounds, while females are 17 to 26 pounds. It resembles a small bear, with a bushy tail and broad head. Its diet includes carrion, small animals, birds, insects and berries.

U.S. populations are found largely in the Northern Cascades in Washington, and Northern Rockies in Montana and Idaho. The nearest known resident population is about 900 miles north of the Tahoe National Forest in Northern Washington.

Zielinski said reports of wolverine sightings occur occasionally in California, but none of those sightings have been confirmed. The last documented occurrence of a wolverine in the state dates back to the 1920s, he said.

Moriarty, who is pursuing a master’s degree in wildlife science at Oregon State, said the sighting on camera of a wolverine was “hugely unexpected.”

“This may be an important scientific ‘stumble,’” she said. “Wolverines are, at the least, extremely rare and some people consider then to have been extirpated in California. I had hoped to get marten detections with the cameras, and I have captured a couple, but getting a wolverine was quite a surprise.

“This season, I’ve obtained images of black bear, bobcat, many coyotes, spotted skunk, Stellar’s jay, common ravens, mice, and long- and short-tailed weasels,” Moriarty added. “It’s a fantastic wildlife assemblage.”

Moriarty has been working in the Tahoe National Forest under the tutelage of Zielinski, a wildlife ecologist, and Eric Forsman, a wildlife ecologist at OSU and the U.S. Geological Survey. Both are members of Moriarty’s graduate committee.

Zielinski, who is an expert at detecting rare mammals including wolverines, lynx, marten and fishers, said the U.S. Forest Service will begin seeking more evidence of wolverines in the region. In addition to the camera array, researchers will try to collect hair and scat samples and compare them to an existing DNA database that may tell them from where the wolverine originated.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "Student Captures Image Of Rare Wolverine In California While Trying To Photograph Birds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080306144240.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2008, March 9). Student Captures Image Of Rare Wolverine In California While Trying To Photograph Birds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080306144240.htm
Oregon State University. "Student Captures Image Of Rare Wolverine In California While Trying To Photograph Birds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080306144240.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

Buzz60 (Jan. 23, 2015) Some &apos;healthy&apos; foods are actually fattening. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) shines a light on the sneaky foods like nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix, avocados, guacamole, olive oil, peanut butter, fruit juices and salads that are good for you...but not so much for your waistline. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins