Wolverine captured on video in Oregon, marking fifth apparent sighting since late March

Wolverine captured on video in Oregon, marking fifth apparent sighting since late March
A wolverine is seen on the banks of the Columbia River on March 20.

A wolverine sighting was confirmed Thursday by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – making it the fifth seen in western Oregon since they were believed to have been wiped out decades ago.

A video taken April 6 shows an apparent wolverine crossing Highway 20 near Sisters, Oregon. Officials from ODFW’s Deschutes Office confirmed wolverine tracks near the location of the sighting.

The last documented wolverine in the Central Cascades region was trapped and killed in 1969 near Broken Top Mountain. The species has since been listed as threatened in the state of Oregon, and no hunting or trapping of the animal is allowed.

The first of the recent sightings took place along the Columbia River near Portland on March 20 – marking the first evidence of wolverines outside of the Wallowa mountain range in more than 30 years. It was followed by subsequent sightings in Damascus, Oregon City and Colton throughout the following days.

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It is possible, though not confirmed, that the sightings are all the same animal. According to ODFW, young wolverines are quite mobile this time of year, and can travel up to 30 miles per day.

Based on the location of the latest sighting, officials say it’s likely the animal is going to a new area where it can survive and hopefully reproduce. Adult wolverines need high alpine habitats with deep snow, much like the area of the recent sighting. However, younger wolverines often go long distances before settling.

ODFW asks that people share wildlife reports with ODFW biologists on the app iNaturalist, which helps officials keep track of wildlife sightings throughout the state.

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