REESTABLISHMENT OF WOLVERINES IN THE SIERRA NEVADA: A MULTI-AGENCY AND STAKEHOLDER COLLABORATION
|David K Garcelon; Institute for Wildlife Studies; email@example.com; Chris Stermer, Justin Dellinger, Tyler Coleman, Tom Stephenson, Pamela Flick, Mourad Gabriel
The wolverine (Gulo gulo) was historically a member of the carnivore community of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. In the early 20th century their population was reported in decline, likely due to combined pressures of trapping and carnivore persecution. Despite extensive monitoring, the only verifiable records in the Sierra Nevada since 1922 was a single male, which likely immigrated from Idaho, observed on trail cameras from 2010-2016. Because habitat components necessary to support a wolverine population appear to be available in the Sierra Nevada, and the primary suitable habitat is located within protected areas, a translocation is likely to be successful at reestablishing a healthy wolverine population. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is actively developing a reintroduction implementation plan and is working in cooperation with other stakeholders to bring this project to fruition. The initial goal is to establish one or more focal groups of wolverines within their historical range, with the end goal of a self-sustaining population. Satellite GPS tracking and ground follow-up of released animals would be conducted to determine survival, spatial organization, habitat use and to document any successful reproduction. These data would also be used to determine if additional population supplementation was merited.