DENVER--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today, in response to a court-ordered deadline, that it is seeking information from the scientific community and the public on a proposal to protect the North American wolverine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service is also seeking comment on two proposed special rules designed to facilitate management and recovery of the species should it receive protection.
An estimated 250 to 300 wolverines now occur in the lower 48 states, where the species has rebounded after broad-scale predator trapping and poisoning programs led to its near extinction in the early 1900s. This was in part due to the states protecting the species from unregulated trapping.
Extensive climate modeling indicates that the wolverine’s snowpack habitat will be greatly reduced and fragmented in the coming years due to climate warming, thereby threatening the species with extinction. Wolverines are dependent on areas in high mountains, near the tree-line, where conditions are cold year-round and snow cover persists well into the month of May.
The Service does not consider most activities occurring within the high elevation habitat of the wolverine, including snowmobiling and backcountry skiing, and land management activities like timber harvesting and infrastructure development, to constitute significant threats to the wolverine. As a result, the Service is proposing a special rule under Section 4(d) of the ESA that, should the species be listed, would allow these types of activities to continue.
“This proposal would give us the flexibility to tailor the protections for the wolverine provided by the ESA to only those things that are necessary,” said Noreen Walsh, Director of the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region. “Scientific evidence suggests that a warming climate will greatly reduce the wolverine’s snowpack habitat. We look forward to hearing from our state and local partners and members of the public and scientific community on these proposals as we work to ensure the continued recovery of the species.”
I'm pretty sure our friend the Wolverine doesn't want or need the government's protection any more than we do. As a matter of fact, it seems to be doing pretty damned good on it's own, even making a comeback in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Maybe that's why we admire that fucker so much - other than it being meaner than hell and not taking any shit off anything.