Wolverine Event in Bozeman, and California Sighting

On Tuesday, June 12th, at the Emerson Cultural Center in Bozeman, Montana, Steve Gehman of Wild Things Unlimited will give a presentation on his wildlife research in the Gallatin Range. Gaimen has worked in the Gallatins for many years, tracking wolverine and lynx and conducting citizen science educational and research programs; the presentation will cover several decades worth of wolverine work. The presentation is at 7:30, and is free and open to the public.

A lucky hiker in California caught a wolverine on film in May. The wolverine was near Lake Spaulding, close to the place where a male wolverine was caught on a marten camera-trap back in 2008, and re-sighted every year since. It’s probably the same wolverine, although we can always hope that a female found her way out there and that they are even now conspiring to repopulate the Sierras.

Certainly this is better Californian wolverine news than another recent item, which detailed the confiscation of a stuffed gulo from a bar. The officers went to the bar on a report that two stuffed roosters on the wall were California condors; perhaps the sense of aggravation with people’s wildlife-identification skills led to a determination that their time shouldn’t be entirely wasted. They spotted the wolverine, which had been there for 50 years, and took it, along with a red-tailed hawk. If it’s a Sierra wolverine, it might be a useful addition to the DNA database; the wolverines that originally inhabited California appear to have been genetically distinct from the rest of the Western US population. Sierra wolverines were apparently extirpated in the 1930’s. The wolverine sighted there in 2008 has genetics similar to the Idaho population, suggesting that he is not a descendant of the Sierra population, but a disperser from the Rockies.

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5 thoughts on “Wolverine Event in Bozeman, and California Sighting

  1. Rebecca, as always, thanks for the wonderful job providing these headlines that would otherwise go unnoticed in ND.

    I have a question that’s off this post’s topic, but should appeal to both your wolverine and cultural anthropologic expertise: Have you ever seen wolverines referenced in Pacific Northwestern tribes’ stories or especially art? You’d think there would have been at least some interactions back then, but I’ve been searching for a long time, asked others who may have known, and haven’t found much evidence. Thanks in advance for any details you can provide.

    T

    • Good question. I haven’t seen any art or come across any stories. Many of the Pacific Northwestern tribes had a word for wolverine, which suggests that they were aware of and interacted with the animal. Wolverines don’t appear to have played the kind of mythological role that they did among northern and eastern groups, however. I’ve heard people speculate that coastal tribes were so focused on the ocean that they tended to not really incorporate the uplands into their worldview – although this may just be some white guy’s theory.

      I have seen a few Inuit artworks that depict wolverines, but those were offline and I don’t have photos, so unfortunately I can’t post them here.

      I’ll let you know if I come across anything, and please do the same if you run into anything.

    • Hmmm. Perhaps better not to reference it online unless you know that they have a permit? (I’m not going to tell anyone, though I might sneak in and try to grab a pelt sample when they aren’t looking….)

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