Wolverine considered for listing
FWS initiates court-ordered review
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
June 6, 2007
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it is initiating a status review of the wolverine to determine whether the species warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act.
FWS is seeking new information from the public, government agencies, tribes, industry and the scientific and conservation communities regarding the status of and potential impacts to the wolverine. After gathering and analyzing this information, FWS will determine whether to propose adding the wolverine to the federal list of threatened and endangered species. To be fully considered in the status review, comments must be received on or before August 6, 2007.
In July, 2000, FWS received a petition from the Biodiversity Legal Foundation and others to list the wolverine within the continguous United States as a threatened or endangered species and to designate critical habitat for the species. The FWS published a petition finding in October, 2003, stating that the petition failed to present substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that listing the wolverine may be warranted.
Subsequently, Defenders of Wildlife and others filed a complaint in June, 2005, alleging FWS used the wrong standards to assess the wolverine petition. The U.S. District Court of Montana ruled that the petition finding was in error and ordered the Service to undertake a status review of the wolverine. FWS intends to complete this review by the court-ordered due date of February 28, 2008.
The wolverine is the largest land species of the “mustelid”, or weasel family, with adults weighing 17 to 40 pounds. It has thick brown fur, with a lighter brown or blonde “stripe” along its sides. It has large feet, for traversing snow, and strong jaws to enable it to feed on frozen carrion and bones. The wolverine inhabits boreal forests in the contiguous United States, Canada and Alaska.