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California, where the wild things -- including wolverines -- are

June 07, 2012|By Paul Whitefield

First a gray wolf. Now a wolverine.

What’s next for California -- a grizzly bear?

That might be asking a bit much, but after Thursday’s story of a hiker who spotted and photographed a wolverine in the High Sierra, anything seems possible.

David Messa spotted the animal on Day 2 of his mid-May hike near Lake Spaulding in Nevada County.

"He was like a bull in a china shop running across that lake. He just probably feared nothing,” Messa told Fox40 in Sacramento. "He was kind of galloping; actually fell through the snow two or three times, turned around and came back, and came across in front of me. I was actually able to get a photo."

The last time a wolverine was spotted here was in 2008 -- a motion sensor camera in the Tahoe National Forest caught images. The Department of Fish and Game said it was just the third documented time a live wolverine had been photographed in the wild in California.

Although the wolverine is rare, the gray wolf that entered California last year from Oregon is the rarest -- truly a “lone wolf.”  And as of this month, the young male is still here, roaming western Lassen County, seeking a mate or just a little adventure.

Both animals’ survival is a reminder that although we’re the most populous state, there are still thousands of out-of-the-way places where such creatures can exist.

And it’s a reminder of why, even in these tough economic times, these wild places and the creatures that roam them must be protected.

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