In December 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that ESA protections are “warranted” for wolverines in the lower-48 states due to their low numbers and threats posed to their snowy habitat by climate change, but that listing them is “precluded” by other priorities. This decision—the result of a legal victory by Defenders and our co-plaintiffs represented by Earthjustice— is one of the first, after polar bears, that has deemed a species eligible for ESA protections primarily due to climate change.
Then in July 2011, we received welcome news that wolverines will be reconsidered for listing under the ESA in 2013. The 2013 deadline puts wolverines near the top of the list of more than 250 other candidate species that the Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to consider for listing during the next five years. We are optimistic that the new determination will be positive and generate much-needed resources for this rare scavenger.
Protection Status (IUCN Red List):
On the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List, the wolverine is currently listed as a species of least concern. The justification for this category relies on the wolverine’s wide distribution across the world, and thus does not focused only on the Lower 48 population.
Male wolverines are typically 30-40% larger than females. Height: 16 inches (males); 14 inches (females) Length: 31-44 inches (including its bushy tail) Weight: 25-55 lbs (males), 15-30 lbs (females). Exceptionally large males can weigh more than 70 lbs. Lifespan: 10-12 years
Land trusts protect land directly by buying or accepting donations of either land or conservation easements. A conservation easement (or conservation restriction) is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values, including wildlife habitat. It allows the landowner to continue to own and use the land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs. Land trusts also educate the public and advocate for the need to conserve land.
The U.S. Forest Service manages the National Forest System, comprising 193 million acres spread across 175 national forests and grasslands across the country. These lands sustain diverse ecosystems and support an incredible array of iconic animals such as grizzly bear, wolf, mountain lion, bighorn sheep, and wolverine.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administers more than 245 million acres in 12 western states. The magnificent landscapes are home to species like sage grouse, pronghorn, and desert tortoise.
America’s National Wildlife Refuge System is the world’s largest network of protected areas dedicated to wildlife conservation. For more than a century, the refuge system has been integral to bringing species such as the whooping crane back from the brink of extinction. Each year, tens of millions of people visit and enjoy national wildlife refuges in every U.S. state and territory, infusing nearly $1.74 billion into local economies and creating more than 32,500 U.S. jobs.