Climate Change Leads Wolverine Being Listed As Threatened Species In The US

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Environmental News, Wildlife

Home » Environmental News » Climate Change Leads Wolverine Being Listed As Threatened Species In The US

In a significant move aimed at conservation, the wolverine being listed as a threatened species in the United States due to the impacts of climate change on its snowy habitat. The decision, announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday, reverses a 2020 determination by the Trump administration that deemed such a classification unnecessary.

Climate Change Leads to Wolverine Being Listed as Threatened Species in the US

The final rule designates the wolverine as threatened only in the contiguous United States, where its population is estimated to be fewer than 300, primarily found in the high country of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington state. This protective status does not extend to wolverines in Alaska or Canada, whose numbers are in the thousands.

Once widely distributed across the northern Cascades, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada, wolverine populations suffered severe declines due to widespread trapping and poisoning. Now, government biologists emphasize that the remaining populations in the Rockies and Cascades are under threat primarily due to the impacts of climate change, leading to rising temperatures and declining snowpack, which fragments the wolverines’ mountain habitat. This alarming situation has led to the wolverine being listed as a threatened species.

Wolverines, the largest land-dwelling species in the Mustelidae mammal family, are known for their solitary and ferocious nature. With a habitat that relies on deep snow cover, they face challenges as climate change diminishes these critical conditions. Human disturbances, winter recreation, and the shrinking snowpack are expected to encroach on their habitats increasingly.

New research also highlights concerns about highways in southern British Columbia restricting the movement of female wolverines from Canada into the U.S., negatively impacting genetic diversity. Regulated trapping in Canada for their prized pelts may have further impaired their populations.

The listing of wolverines under the Endangered Species Act imposes restrictions on activities that may harm or kill these animals without a special permit. The Fish and Wildlife Service has one year to designate critical habitat areas with limitations on commercial activities to aid in recovering the wolverine population. This move underscores the intersection of wildlife conservation, climate change, and the need for comprehensive measures to protect vulnerable species.

Also Read: Britain Says Goodbye To Its Only Giant Pandas After A 12-Year Stay

 

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