U.S. Fish and Wildlife Cancel Proposal to List Wolverine as Threatened Species

First Posted: Aug 13, 2014 07:20 AM EDT

The U.S. fish and Wildlife Service plans on withdrawing its proposal of adding wolverine to the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

In a latest announcement, the officials revealed their plan of withdrawing a proposal to list North American wolverine as a threatened species under the ESA. Mainly found in the Mountain West, the wolverine is a large but elusive member of the weasel family. This species had made a dramatic recovery over the last half century after threats of hunting, trapping and poisoning completely destroyed the species from lower 48 states in the early 1990s.

Even after considering the change in climatic conditions, the Service determined that these effects would not cause any threat to the wolverine and place them in danger of extinction even in the near future. Due to this, wolverine population does not meet the statutory definition of threatened species nor endangered species and does not need any protection under ESA.

"Climate change is a reality, the consequences of which the Service deals with on a daily basis. While impacts to many species are clear and measurable, for others the consequences of a warming planet are less certain. This is particularly true in the Mountain West, where differences in elevation and topography make fine-scale prediction of climate impacts ambiguous," said Service Director Dan Ashe.

Based on the evidence provided, the Service officials have been unable to gather inputs on the ecology of the wolverine and when and how they would be hit by change in climate. 

Evidence revealed that in the second half of the last century, the wolverine population grew and expanded; and continues to grow in unoccupied habitat that is suitable. Evidence clearly reflects that the impact that climate change brings on habitat will not cause any damage to the population.

"While we concluded that the wolverine does not merit Endangered Species Act protection at this time, this does not end our involvement in wolverine conservation," said Ashe. "We will continue to work with our state partners as they manage for healthy and secure wolverine populations and monitor their status. If new information emerges that suggests we should take another look at listing, we will not hesitate to do that."

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