(ENDANGERED SPECIES) The wolverine, in spite of Hugh Jackman’s fierce interpretation, resembles a small bear with a bushy tail. They tend to live in remote and inhospitable places away from human populations. In the early 20th century, wolverines were nearly eliminated from the contiguous United States due to a broad-scale predator trapping and poisoning programs. They have made a remarkable recovery since that time, however, climate warming over the next century is likely to reduce wolverine habitat. This likelihood is so high that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing that Federal and State agencies take action by recommending that wolverines be listed as a threatened species. This will protect the wolverine from extinction by increasing its ability to persist regardless of climate change. Read on to learn more about the steps being taken to save this culturally significant animal from possible endangerment. — Global Animal
Ecorazzi, Ali Berman
The wolverine, a particularly tough member of the weasel family, might be getting some governmental help soon. After a lawsuit put forth by the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has made the recommendation that wolverines should be listed as threatened.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service reports that, “An estimated 250 to 300 wolverines now occur in the lower 48 states, where the species has rebounded after broad-scale predator trapping and poisoning programs led to its near extinction in the early 1900s. This was in part due to the states protecting the species from unregulated trapping.”
Sadly, direct human action isn’t the only threat to the species. Like the polar bear, wolverines are expected to be heavily impacted by climate change. Climate modeling has shown that the wolverine’s snowy habitat will greatly diminish due to warmer temperatures.
While the listing would not protect the species from climate change, it would prohibit hunting or trapping of the species. Thankfully, 90% of their habitat in the US is on public land.
This is a proposed change to the status, so nothing is written in stone yet. If you’d like to voice your opinion, the US Fish and Wildlife Service will be taking public comments on the issue for 90 days starting today.
I don’t think we’re alone in hoping that the most famous wolverine of all, Hugh Jackman, takes a moment to advocate for these wonderful little creatures.