Wolverine among endangered Species due to climate change
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classified wolverines as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act on November 29, following over two decades of appeals from wildlife conservation organisations.
“Biologists estimate a loss of more than 40 percent of suitable wolverine habitat in Idaho by 2060 if we fail to act,” said Jeff Abrams, wildlife programme associate for the Idaho Conservation League, on Wednesday.
“This decision allows us to move forward on recovery actions to prevent such extensive loss of wolverine habitat and recover wolverine populations,” Abrams added.
Wolverines are solitary carnivores that live in high-altitude habitats that need a lot of snow to raise their young, and they are adapted for digging, climbing, and travelling far in the winter.
Wolverine populations are inherently limited in their high-altitude alpine environments. Yet, the Fish and Wildlife Department anticipates that human interference, coupled with the primary threat of climate change impacting spring snow, will lead to further reduction and fragmentation of these habitats.
“The science is clear: snowpack-dependent species like the wolverine are facing an increasingly uncertain future under a warming climate,” according to Michael Saul, programme director for Defenders of Wildlife Rockies and Plains.
“The protections that come with the Endangered Species Act listing increase the chance that our children will continue to share the mountains with these elusive and fascinating carnivores,” Saul continued.
Wolverines were once widespread across the U.S.’s northern regions, extending from states such as Montana and Idaho to areas as far south as New Mexico in the Rockies and Southern California in the Sierra Nevada range.
However, due to over a century of unregulated trapping and habitat degradation, wolverines now only exist in small populations in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming, and northeast Oregon.
Andrea Zaccardi, the Centre for Biological Diversity’s carnivore conservation legal director, said that Wolverines waited far too long for federal protections.
“I’m thrilled that the Fish and Wildlife Service finally followed the science and granted wolverines the federal protections they need to survive and recover,” Zaccardi added.