California Wolverine

WolverineNo one had seen a California wolverine since 1922. But pictures taken by remote cameras have confirmed that there is one in the Tahoe National Forest now. U.S. Forest Service research ecologist William Zielinski says hair and dropping samples have been sent away for DNA analysis.
"Fortunately, enough previous work has been done on the genetics of wolverines that, if we can get a good enough sample, our colleagues think they can help us identify the population of origin for this individual," Zielinski said. "The historical population of wolverines that once existed in the Sierra Nevada had a very unique and distinct genetic signature. So it should be pretty clear if it's a remnant from that population."

It's important to researchers because the nearest population of wolverines is 900 miles away in Central Washington. That means the animal either migrated across an enormous distance or it's part of a small group of native wolverines that somehow evaded detection for the better part of a century.

The North American wolverine is a member of the weasel family, and can grow up to 45 pounds. Link -via Metafilter

(image credit: USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and Oregon State University)

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