Court Restores Wolverine Protections While Agency Reconsiders Endangered Species Decision

Court Restores Wolverine Protections While Agency Reconsiders Endangered Species Decision

MISSOULA, Mont.— In a victory for wolverines, a Montana District Court decided late Thursday to restore the species as a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The court agreed with conservation groups that wolverines need additional protections while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reconsiders its 2020 decision not to protect the species as threatened or endangered.

“The wolverine deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act, and this is a step toward ensuring the species does not suffer additional harm before that happens,” said Amanda Galvan, associate attorney with Earthjustice’s Northern Rockies office. “FWS previously ignored key studies that illustrate the threats the wolverine continues to face due to global warming. By reviewing a more complete picture of the species’ circumstances, we are hopeful that the agency will identify the need for increased protections.”

“Wolverines desperately needed this good news, but it’s time to follow the science and finally grant them the full life-saving protections of the Endangered Species Act,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “With wolverines facing dire threats like climate change and habitat loss, the Fish and Wildlife Service can’t waste any more time.”

As a candidate species, the wolverine will be afforded certain protections under the Endangered Species Act. Federal agencies must confer with the Service on any action they take that might harm wolverines. The health and safety of wolverines and their habitat must also be considered in planning decisions that could destroy or degrade their critical habitat.

“The wolverine is a test case. How do we protect snow-dependent species in the era of climate change?” said Joseph Vaile from the conservation group KS Wild in southern Oregon. “One thing is certain. Without federal protections, this majestic species will be another climate change casualty.”

Lead Image: Wolverine, Gulo gulo, Wikimedia Commons / Zefram. 

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