The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it is withdrawing its proposal to list the North American wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision to withdraw the listing proposal followed the consensus recommendation of the Service’s three Regional Directors for the regions encompassing the wolverine’s known range in the contiguous United States – the Mountain Prairie, Pacific Northwest, and Pacific Southwest regions.
As we previously reported, the Regional Director of the Service’s Mountain Prairie region previously ordered the reversal of a recommendation to list the wolverine after concerns were raised about the reliability of data used for predicting impacts to the species as a result of climate change. That order reversed a previous recommendation to list the wolverine following issuance of a report by a panel of biologists in April 2014.
Ultimately, the Service found that climate change models are unable to reliably predict snowfall amounts and snow-cover persistence in wolverine denning locations, and evidence suggested that wolverine populations actually increased in the second half of the 20th century. The Service determined that the effects of climate change are not likely to place the species in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future, and thus the wolverine did not meet the ESA’s definition of a “threatened species.”