A rare wolverine sighting occurred Monday on the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon, and photos show the animal creeping along the bank.
Two people fishing noticed the animal, known as the largest member of the weasel family and a threatened species in the state, NPR reported Friday.
According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), it was the first confirmed report of a wolverine outside the Wallowa Mountains in more than 30 years.
One image shows the animal looking toward the person behind the camera, while another caught the moment it made its way down the riverbank:
Wolverine sighted along Columbia River near Portland – https://t.co/Zak6ohtBPO
📸 Provided by @Cascadia_Wild pic.twitter.com/8lCBIAAqAm
— Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (@MyODFW) March 22, 2023
“Given the proximity to Portland, we were very surprised when this report came in and elated when we were able to verify the sighting,” said ODFW District Wildlife Biologist Dave Keiter, adding his appreciation for those who reported the sighting.
The department’s press release continued:
ODFW and Cascadia Wild deployed two non-invasive monitoring stations (each consisting of a motion-detecting camera and a hair-collecting device baited with a strong-smelling attractant) in the nearby area. The cameras, which have cellular capability, will allow ODFW to verify if the wolverine is still present in the area. If the wolverine deposits hair on the hair-collecting device and a DNA sample is obtained, it could be possible to identify the individual if it was sampled elsewhere and determine where it came from through population genetics. Volunteers from Cascadia Wild looked for additional tracks and sign[s] nearby and collected two unidentified scats, which may be genetically tested for individual identification.
In a social media post on Thursday, the ODFW shared video footage of what appeared to be the same animal.
“A second sighting of the wolverine was reported in Damascus, Oregon on Wednesday after an initial sighting along the Columbia River on Monday,” the department said:
Hey, is that a wolverine…again? The bushy tail, blackish brown coat and pale brown stripe along its side certainly look wolverine-like! A second sighting of the wolverine was reported in Damascus, Oregon on Wednesday after an initial sighting along the Columbia River on Monday. pic.twitter.com/mpGjVKsxL5
— Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (@MyODFW) March 23, 2023
According to KGW News, wolverines are more commonly found in Canada and Alaska.
Keiter told the outlet the animals can travel great distances, “especially when they’re dispersing, which is moving from their natal area to potentially set up a new territory and find a mate elsewhere.”
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