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
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. Defenders of Wildlife is working to protect and strengthen the National Wildlife Refuge System, the only system of federal lands in the United States dedicated to wildlife conservation.
Protecting Wildlife Refuges from Oil and Gas Development
Every species requires a certain set of environmental conditions to be able to move around, feed and reproduce. Whether it’s in the forest, grassland, desert, tundra, or ocean, the place where each species finds the conditions it needs to live and thrive is called its habitat.