First Wolverine Sighting Beyond Its Habitat in 30 Years

For the first time in over 30 years, a wolverine has been seen outside of its typical range, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Two anglers near Portland, Oregon, caught the most prominent member of the weasel family on Monday (March 27, 2023) in the Columbia River.

The mammal is listed as endangered in Oregon. The Wallowa Mountains are their traditional habitat in northern Oregon, and the creatures have not been seen anywhere else in decades.

First Wolverine Sighting Beyond Its Habitat in 30 Years

“Given the proximity to Portland, we were very surprised when this report came in and elated when we were able to verify the sighting,” ODFW district wildlife biologist David Keiter said. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the non-profit Cascadia Wild put up cameras and hair-collecting equipment to identify the wolverine’s origin.

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As wolverines may cover up to 30 miles daily, ODFW predicts it will not return to the region. “It is likely that this animal was dispersing as the habitat in the area doesn’t meet the life history requirements of wolverines,” it said.

Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, and Idaho all maintain small but stable populations of wolverines outside of their more common ranges in Alaska and Canada. After being declared extinct in 1936, there have been a few confirmed sightings in Oregon, although the population is still tiny.

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