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Ultra-rare wolverine animal spotted for just the second time in 100 years
June 6, 2023
An ultra-rare animal that inspired the character Wolverine has been spotted for just the second time in 100 years in its native California.
Wildlife officials in the US state said the species was spotted three times last month in the eastern Sierra Nevada, after being spotted just once before that since the 1920s.
The population plummeted wildly as the result of hunting and fur trapping in the decades following the gold rush, according to Associated Press.
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One of the deceptively cute critters was spotted in California from 2008 to 2018, beginning in the Tahoe National Forest, officials said.
Last month’s wolverine, the most recent sighting, is likely a different one because the animal’s lifespan is usually 12 to 13 years.
The animal, likely a male on the hunt for a partner, has been spotted twice in the Inyo National Forest and once in Yosemite National Park.
“It’s just really exciting and surprising,” said Daniel Gammons, a senior environmental scientist in California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Ryan Campbell snapped pictures of the wolverine while enjoying a ski day at Mammoth Mountain. He initialy thought it was a small bear.
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“We saw it running toward a nearby clump of trees,” Campbell told SFGate. “Then, we noticed why it started running. A skier was coming down the slope and took the jump, likely never having seen how close they were.”
The wanderer likely walked to the Golden State from a neighboring population, wildlife officials said.
Wildlife officials now hope to get a sample of the wolverine’s saliva, scat or hair to conduct genetic testing, Smithsonian reported.
Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family.
Looper reported that in an attempt to break into the Canadian market, magazine makers Marvel used the wolverine – popular up north – as the bases of the character of the same name.
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