Local wildlife officers believe the animal may have been searching for a mate as it travelled through Inyo National Forest and Yosemite National Park.
“It’s just really exciting and surprising,” said Daniel Gammons, a senior environmental scientist in California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Though usually less than 43 inches in length, wolverines are powerful, fierce creatures that have sharp claws to help them move in remote, rugged mountain terrain.
Male wolverines walk through huge territories — easily several hundred square miles — and this winter’s heavy snowfall in the region may have created “habitat bridges” for the wolverine, Mr Gammons said.
It was thought the animal could have travelled from the Rocky and Cascade mountain ranges, or from as far away as Canada or Alaska.