endangered species act

Updates on the potential listing of the wolverine under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

The wolverine is now a “Candidate” for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

History—Wolverines were petitioned for ESA protections in 1994, and again in 2000.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled in March 2008 that the lower-48 wolverine population is “not warranted” for listing because: (1) it is not discrete from wolverines in Canada, and (2) its distribution in the lower 48 does not represent a “significant portion of its range.” Later that year, Defenders of Wildlife and other groups filed suit to challenge this “not warranted” finding.  A legal settlement was reached whereby the Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to issue a revised finding by December 2010.

Current Status—In a revised status review announced December 13, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that wolverines warrant Endangered Species Act protections, but the listing is precluded by other priorities.  Wolverines were found to be threatened in the western U.S. due to their low numbers and the decline of areas with persistent spring snowpack.  The Fish and Wildlife Service assigned the wolverine a listing priority number of 6—on a scale of 1 to 12 where 1 is the highest priority—due to “threats that are of high magnitude but that are not imminent.” 

Click here for copies of the documents referred to above, including:  the 2000 ESA listing petition and attachments, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s May 2008 “not warranted” finding, and the legal settlement whereby the Service agrees to issue a revised finding:  http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolverine/archives.html

Click here for a copy of the revised wolverine status review:  http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolverine/