In October the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied protection for this species under the Endangered Species Act. Many conservation organizations including Earthjustice and Conservation Northwest have been working for over 20 years to get this species listed. With the continued reduction in snowpack, these organizations are concerned that without additional protections the U.S. Forest Serve will open up more prime wolverine habitat to snowmobiles, which can negatively impact the solitude-loving animals.
The Endangered Species Act enacted by president Nixon has been touted as the most effective conservation effort in this country. Under the act the USFWS is required to protect critical habitat so species have the ability to recover to sustainable populations. The current administration is challenging some key aspects of the ESA, proposing to exclude many critical habitat designations, and create a limited definition of habitat. In October 2020, 17 state attorneys, including Washington’s, filed a letter challenging these changes.
Learn more about wolverines in the Nature column from the Nov.-Oct. 2020 issue.