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Natural Resources & Energy

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Withdraws Wolverine Listing Proposal

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A proposal to list the wolverine as an endangered species was formally withdrawn by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday. A coalition of wildlife advocacy groups says it's planning to sue the government over the decision. Drew Kerr with Wild Earth Guardians, one of the groups, says the wildlife service’s decision to withdraw the proposal shows they are caving to political pressures.

“Their own biologists and a panel of experts convened to review the matter were unanimous in concluding that climate change is a significant threat warranting listing.”

Kerr says the Wildlife Service’s decision is disappointing because the situation for wolverines has become extremely dire with climate change.

“The best estimates from wildlife biologists specializing in wolverine are that there are between 200, 250 and 300 at the high end, wolverine in the entire country excluding Canada and Alaska.”

Wolverines have always been few and far between. They're solitary animals that live at high elevations with territories up to 500 miles. Female wolverine require deep snows lasting late into spring to build their dens. Kerr says that’s why climate change is such a major factor in the species decline.

Kerr says one of the most populous areas for remaining wolverine populations is around the Yellowstone region.  

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