Wolverine spotted in Truckee for third consecutive winter | SierraSun.com

Wolverine spotted in Truckee for third consecutive winter

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

Sun File PhotoThis Wolverine, seen here in the winter of 2009, has returned to the Truckee area and was captured on film last month.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; For the third straight winter, a mysterious creature has shown up in the woods north of Truckee.

A wolverine and#8212; a small predator related to weasels and skunks and#8212; was first spotted by graduate student Katie Moriarty in Sagehen Field Station in February 2008, sparking national interest. Previously thought extinct in California since the 1920s, the solitary animal showed up again 15 miles away on Sierra Pacific Industries logging land last winter.

and#8220;Itand#8217;s just very curious and#8212; how did he get here?and#8221; said Mark Pawlicki, director of corporate affairs and sustainability for Sierra Pacific Industries.

Just last month, motion-activated cameras have captured photos and video of the wolverine, and bristle-brushes have collected fur and#8212; which gave scientists genetic material to confirm the mammal is male, and most likely from the northern Rockies.

and#8220;We have a new sample to see if the most recent encounter is the same animal, but biologists think itand#8217;s the same based on markings,and#8221; Pawlicki said.

This winter, he showed up about 10 miles from where he was photographed last winter, Pawlicki said.

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and#8220;We donand#8217;t have a lot of data, but we know he goes a long ways,and#8221; he said.

Pawlicki said Sierra Pacific Industries has no plans for the wolverine, other than watching for him on their remote cameras.

The most recent timber harvest in the area occurred in 2008.

Sierra Pacific Industries also announced it is re-opening its small-log sawmill in Quincy in early May.

and#8220;We can open because of a combination of two things; improvements in the lumber market, and an increase in small-log availability,and#8221; Mark Pawlicki said.

That means two shifts of work will start at the mill in May, but one shift will be cut at the large-log mill, meaning a net increase of 35 jobs, Pawlicki said.

The threshold between small and large logs is 18-inches in diameter, he said.