USFW Considers Adding Wolverines To Threatened Species List

Jul 6, 2020

The wolverine, Gulo gulo is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae (weasels). 1 June 2004
Credit William F. Wood

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether wolverines should be listed as threatened by the end of August. 

This deadline comes after a long wait, said Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. 

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service actually proposed to list the wolverine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, finding that climate change is reducing the deep spring snowpack that wolverines need for denning," said Zaccardi. 

But in 2014, the federal government withdrew that proposal. 

"We believe this was largely a result of pressure from the states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming," she said.

Some of these states have expressed that they believe the wolverine population in their states are healthy. 

This prompted a lawsuit which ended with a judge ordering the government to reconsider in 2016. Zaccardi said since then, there has been no progress. 

So, the Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups filed a lawsuit in March to make the agency determine the fate of the animal after four years of delay. The agency and conservation groups came to a legal agreement that the agency will decide whether the wolverine is threatened by August 31st. 

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudlesk@uwyo.edu.