welcome, pterodactyls

This week, we hear that some long-lost animal friends have shown up in Northern California.  Over the past year a wolverine has been tracked near Truckee, and today there was a story about a nesting pair of condors in the Pinnacles.  The California native wolverine was hunted to extinction about 80 years ago.  Or so it was assumed.  There’s some uncertainty regarding the wolverine population.  This guy is thought to be related to wolverines from the Sawtooth range in Idaho.  He’s described as “lovelorn”.  It’s that time of year for wolverines.  The condor was reintroduced at the Pinnacles in 2003, but this is the first nest (and condor egg) in the park since then. There hasn’t been a condor nest in the Pinnacles in the last century.

Now we want to see the Chinook salmon come back in big numbers next fall.  I’ve been looking over a California camping guide that was last updated in 2002, and in some of the descriptions for sites in the Sacramento River delta it talks about the immense numbers of salmon – only 8 years ago the fall salmon run would have been about 800,000 fish.  Last year was just under 40,000, the lowest number ever recorded.  The National Marine Fisheries Service is forecasting that 245,483 salmon will return in 2010.  Let’s hope this optimistic (and unusually precise) prediction returns true.

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