wolverine in canada

Wolverine In California: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Wolverine In California

You will be surprised to know that just a month back one of the rarest species of wild animal was spotted in California. This young creature was looking for a partner and probably migrated from nearby states. Currently not named, this California wolverine was just officially identified now after several unconfirmed sightings.

Intrigued? We knew you would be and that’s why we are going to tell you all about wolverine and their presence in California.

Are There Wolverine in California?

Though wolverines are not exactly something often observed to live in California, there have been few sightings of these creatures in the state. Particularly, a trio of wolverine sightings has just recently been confirmed by scientists. This sighting makes the list as the second sighting in the last century.

These creatures belong to the weasel family and are the largest in their family. Although it is a common fact that wolverines inhabited North America including parts of the U.S., they have not been recorded in California. However, the temporary movement of these creatures is quite possible.

What Happened To Wolverine In California?

A lot of things, for once they have actually disappeared. Shocking how a few 100 years can change the fate of a whole species, isn’t it? 

Wolverine once roamed freely in the mountainous terrains of Sierra Nevada, California. But soon disappeared in 1922 from California due to hunting, trapping, and various other human activities.

But this isn’t only so in California. Wolverines have been nearly extinct from the lower 48 states due to predator poisoning, lack of tray, and fur-trapping. Thankfully, they are now coming back to their historical ranges albeit in very small numbers.

When was the last California Wolverine sighting?

Wolverine In California

So, as I mentioned at the beginning of the article, there was a confirmed sighting of a male Wolverine just a month ago. This makes it the most recent sighting of this elusive species since the last one in 2008. Surprisingly, this is only the second sighting of Wolverine in the last 100 years.

As per the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, this wolverine in particular was sighted in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park, and Inyo National Forest. 

Yes, California Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible to monitor and track wolverine and other species found in the state. The next step in tracking this creature is to look for scats and the department has already started it. Let’s, hope that the creature is tracked and decides to stay back in the state.

Also Check Our Guide On Wolverine in US

What State Has The Most Wolverines?

First, let’s understand the type of habitat wolverines look for when looking to stay back permanently. Wolverines are nocturnal and prefer remote areas with snow cover, rugged landscapes, and mountainous regions. 

Their skin itself is made to insulate their body which is a particular trait of all that lives in tundra, especially in its cold regions. These creatures also need a lot of room to roam which also needs to be void of human presence.

This particular type of biome is found only in Alaska, and that’s where most of the present Wolverine population resides. And in the lower 48 states, Montana has the highest population of these creatures.

Can You Hunt Wolverine in California?

No, It is illegal to hunt Wolverine in California. These creatures are listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act of the state. In fact, it is illegal to kill, possess or purchase them. Exceptions might be included only for the cases of research, education, and rehabilitation purposes. 

First of all, there isn’t even an established population of wolverines in California. There have just been sporadic sightings of these creatures, that too of just 2-3 individuals all male. 

This is not enough to set up a breeding population. But there are hopes and one day we might have a stable breeding population in the state. And when this happens, it’s most likely that Wolverine will be delisted from the ESA and hunting will be legal. So, until then, sit tight and support the conservation of these creatures by spreading information about them.

How Many Wolverines Are Left In The Us?

Estimating any wild creature population including those of wolverines is challenging.  As per various state’s Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife and Parks department, there are about 300 individuals of wolverines existing in the U.S. 

They are distributed in Alaska, over the northern Rocky Mountains, and north Cascades in Washington state which includes Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington.

Much more research is ongoing to estimate the Wolverine population, their distribution across the different states, and how to bring them back to their historical range. The only thing stopping us from achieving these are climate change, human disturbances, and habitat loss because of these.

Also Check Our Guide On Wolverine in Yellowstone


And that was everything you need to know about the Wolverine in California. I hope this article was informative and your queries were answered.

Thank You For Reading!

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