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North American wolverine to receive threatened status under Endangered Species Act

(National Park Service)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Climate change and habitat loss warrant protections for the North American wolverine, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The service announced in a Nov. 29 press release its final rule to list the distinct population segment of the North American wolverine — a medium-sized carnivore found in the Rocky Mountains and North Cascade Mountains in addition to Alaska and Canada — in the contiguous U.S. as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. 

“Current and increasing impacts of climate change and associated habitat degradation and fragmentation are imperiling the North American wolverine,” Pacific Regional Director Hugh Morrison said in the release. “Based on the best available science, this listing determination will help to stem the long-term impact and enhance the viability of wolverines in the contiguous United States.”

Earlier this year, the species status assessment for the North American wolverine was updated with an addendum updating information gathered since 2018, the service says. The information includes climate change, habitat connectivity, trapping, snow, population density and impacts on genetic diversity, among other measures. 

The decision to list wolverines as a threatened species under the ESA comes after the District Court of Montana vacated a 2020 determination by the service that said protections for the wolverine were not warranted. 

The service is requesting comments or information from any interested party concerning the new rule with a 60-day comment period starting on Nov. 30. A full listing of the proposed and final rules and any comments received are available online.

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