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SCB and ASM Comment on Listing Determination for the Wolverine

The wolverine is the largest terrestrial member of the mustelid family. The species is primarily found in boreal regions, but was formerly found throughout montane areas of the western United States. Today, the wolverine population in the lower 48 states numbers only a few hundred individuals. This decline has prompted efforts over two decades to list the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The wolverine is threatened by loss of snow covered habitat that is used for denning and caching of prey.  The wolverine may serve as an umbrella species for a much larger group of taxa that share the wolverine’s habitat and are also threatened by the effect of climate change on snow cover.

The best available science suggests wolverines warrant federal protection as a threatened species

US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) staff scientists and two independent scientific peer reviews have concluded that these threats qualify the species for listing as threatened. However, FWS leadership has overruled these conclusions and is poised to deny listing of the wolverine.

The Society for Conservation Biology and the American Society of Mammalogists recently commented on the listing determination for the wolverine.  The comments identify serious flaws in the Fish and Wildlife Service's listing determination process. They also highlight a troubling pattern of disregard for the best available science in making these decisions. To see the full comments, please click here.