On Monday, two anglers took photographs of a wolverine and reported their findings to Cascadia Wild, a nonprofit organization focused on wolverine tracking, as well as the department. On Tuesday, after verification, both groups confirmed that the photographed animal was indeed a wolverine. They also discovered a set of wolverine tracks near the river.

No further indications of the animal’s presence were found.

Dave Keiter, the district wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, expressed surprise and delight regarding the report’s proximity to Portland. In a news release on Wednesday, he stated, “We were very surprised when this report came in and elated when we were able to verify the sighting. We really appreciate the people who reported this rare occurrence and Cascadia Wild, who helped us confirm the report and initiate monitoring efforts.”

Both the department and Cascadia Wild have set up noninvasive monitoring stations in the area in hopes of obtaining additional evidence of this elusive creature. However, they express skepticism about the animal reappearing.

According to the news release, “It is likely that this animal was dispersing as the habitat in the area doesn’t meet the life history requirements of wolverines. Wolverines can travel over 30 miles in a day, so it is likely the animal is already long gone from where it was sighted.”

The sighting has generated excitement among wildlife enthusiasts. The state wildlife agency tweeted, “A WOLVERINE, a freaking WOLVERINE in Western Oregon this week, month, year made!”

The agency urges anyone who captures images of the animal to submit them to the department, as valuable wildlife information often comes from observant individuals. Teri Lysak, wolverine tracking coordinator with Cascadia Wild, expressed gratitude to the couple who spotted the animal and shared their findings.

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, wolverines can be found in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The animal’s status is currently listed as “proposed threatened.”

About Wolverines: The wolverine is the largest terrestrial member of the family Mustelidae, with adult males weighing 12 to 18 kilograms (kg) (26 to 40 pounds (lb)) and adult females weighing 8 to 12 kg (17 to 26 lb) (Banci 1994). It resembles a small bear with a bushy tail. It has a round, broad head; short, rounded ears; and small eyes. There are five toes on each foot, with curved and semiretractile claws used for digging and climbing (Banci 1994).

The species historical range included Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming. See below for information about where the species is known or believed to occur.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

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