The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that the wolverine will be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the Lower 48. Threatened species are those that are likely to become endangered if measures to recover the populations are not taken.
This decision has been years in the making. Environmental groups have been fighting for wolverine protections since 2013, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the species as threatened under the ESA. Now, a decade later, the elusive animal—which can, and will, consume just about anything from rabbits to porcupines to moose—will receive federal protections.
Human-driven climate change has led to the species’ decline, with the most recent estimates noting a population of around 300 in the Lower 48. Wolverines rely on deep snow through the late spring to build dens, but in recent decades, snowpack has been decreasing. The species used to roam from the northern United States to New Mexico, but now they exist only in small populations in the Rocky and Cascade mountains.
“The science is clear: snowpack-dependent species like the wolverine are facing an increasingly uncertain future under a warming climate,” Michael Saul, Defenders of Wildlife Rockies and plains program director, told National Parks Traveler. “Now it’s time to support the species’ future by bringing them back to the mountains of Colorado as well.”
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Quote of the day
I feel like the soul of Wyoming is up for sale.”
—Ann Young, a Cody, Wyoming resident, in regard to the proposed auction of the Kelly Parcel in Wyoming. Cowboy State Daily
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