Wolverine spotted near Truckee | TheUnion.com

Wolverine spotted near Truckee

With the click of a shutter on a motion-detecting digital camera, the secret was out.

A wolverine, a solitary but fierce carnivore long thought to have been driven from the forests of California by human activity, was caught on camera, calmly eating chicken scraps from the forest floor several miles north of Truckee.

The slightly fuzzy image, taken just after 8 a.m. on Feb. 28, is shaking up the wildlife research and environmental communities.

“When I first saw it, it was amazing,” said William Zielinski, a research ecologist with the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Field Research Station. “I couldn’t even conceive the implications of this discovery. I couldn’t believe that this was before my eyes.”

The sighting could have major implications for land-use decisions if the wolverine is declared an endangered species, a step the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering.

“You can probably compare (this discovery) to James Marshall finding gold in California,” said Steve Martarano, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game.

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