Less is known about this extremely rare and fierce member of the weasel family than any other mammal in North America.
It is solitary and secretive, living in dens at high elevations in remote locations. Wolverines are opportunistic scavengers and predators, feeding on carrion, small mammals and insect larvae.
Its historic range extended from the northern Cascades south through the Sierra Nevada. In the 1980s, 50 to 100 wolverines were estimated to be in California. In 1993, an extensive survey of previously occupied sites failed to detect a single individual. Today, the wolverine is considered extremely rare in California, and may already be extinct.
Wolverines do not hibernate in the winter. With a thick coat, short, rounded ears, and a strong build, they are very well adapted to cold, snowy, winters. Their bounding gait and stiff hairs on the bottom of their feet help them move across snow. Wolverines can weigh from 35-60 lbs (16-27kg).
Issues Facing this Animal
Activities that impact wolverine populations include agriculture, cattle grazing, logging, mining, and the presence of humans.
Conservation & Protection
Further research is needed. The Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center is surveying wolverines in the Stanislaus National Forest using photo-detection stations in remote locations.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Support the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center. It may be too late to save the wolverine in California, but with restored habitat and protection, wolverines may be able to be re-introduced to their former ranges.
Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center: www.cserc.org