A rare wolverine was spotted near Portland, Oregon, instilling hope in animal lovers advocating for their protection, as the animal is currently listed as a threatened species in the state.

The sighting of the North American wolverine took place along the Columbia River, which is far from where wolverines tend to reside. The animal was spotted by a couple near the river and was the first sighting in the state in the past twelve years.

State biologist Kaly Adkins estimated that the spotted wolverine was likely on a journey towards habitats in higher altitude, considering they rely on snow.

“They need alpine areas with pretty dense snowpack,” Adkins said. “They need that because that’s how they feed the kits, or the young, in the winter months. They actually cache food in snow banks. It kind of serves as a freezer so that they can pull out the leftovers and eat them in the months where life is really rugged.”

A few weeks later, there was a second sighting of the remarkable animal, this time near Santiam Pass, Oregon, according to news reports. A local spotted the animal racing down a snowy hill and crossing a two-lane highway and managed to film the occurrence. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed that the animal was, in fact, a wolverine.

Wolverines are the largest member of the weasel family and can travel up to 30 miles each day.

Despite this happy update, wolverines still face unprecedented threats and need our protection! Help wolverines today by signing our petition urging the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to grant these iconic creatures federal protection.