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Wolverine Confirmed In Oregon's Wallowa Mountains

Evidence of enigmatic predator in Oregon is first in over 20 years, and the first ever in Wallowa County.

By Jim Yuskavitch
Sneak Cat Blog
Wolverine Confirmed In Oregon's Wallowa Mountains

Photo of wolverine tracks courtesy ODFW

Researchers have confirmed wolverine tracks on April 17 in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. This is the first confirmed evidence of the presence of wolverines in Wallowa County. Based on the size of the tracks, it is believed to be those of a lone male.

The researchers, Dr. Audrey Magoun and Pat Valkenburg, surveyed the Eagle Cap Wilderness over the course of last winter using baited camera traps and aerial searches. Next winter they will continue their survey work to try and determine if there is a breeding population in the area.

The camera traps also detected American marten and a few native red fox, a species that lives in the higher elevations in northeast Oregon and the Cascade Mountains and is not often observed by humans.

Wolverines have been listed as a state threatened species since 1975 and was designated a candidate species for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act in December 2010.

Wolverines were believed to have been extirpated from Oregon by 1936, however, one was killed on Three Finger Jack in the Cascades in 1965 and another was trapped and released on Steens Mountain in 1973. Another was trapped in Wheeler County in 1986. A dead wolverine was found in Hood River County in 1990 and a partial skeleton was found in Grant County in 1992.

You can read the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife news release here. The photo, by Audrey Magoun, shows wolverine tracks in the snow, April 17, 2011.

 

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