Wolverine Needs the Protection of the Endangered Species Act

Wolverine (Gulo gulo).  Courtesy of Anna Yu / AY Images.  Copyright 2006 - Anna Yu.

America’s elusive and imperiled wolverine needs Federal protection!

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently gathered comments regarding a petition to list the wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The Biodiversity Legal Foundation originally filed the petition in 2000, and the government originally rejected it based upon the assertion that the petition failed to present substantial scientific and commercial information supporting the need to protect wolverines under the Endangered Species Act.

The primary basis for the government’s decision was that, because wolverine are so secretive and occur at relatively low densities in very remote regions, the petitioners could not prove that the wolverine was actually imperiled by human activities. Yet, we do know much about the types of human activities that take place in typical wolverine habitat, and that much of this activity can render such places uninhabitable for wolverines. Moreover, we know that global climate change is likely to negatively affect wolverine habitat.

Citizens weigh in!

Comments from around the country emphasized the following:

  • A variety of human activities, including road building and logging, is destroying wolverine habitat, and the connectivity between core areas of habitat;
  • Trapping continues to jeopardize wolverines;
  • Climate change may seriously affect wolverines, which are dependent upon the very specific climatic conditions of high alpine environments;
  • Wolverine would stand a much greater chance of survival under the protections of the Endangered Species Act; over 99% of the species listed under the Endangered Species Act have been saved from extinction; and
  • Waiting for absolute proof that wolverines are imperiled is poor stewardship, and a recipe for extinction.

In the coming months, the government will review all comments and any new published science on the wolverine. We hope that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will do the right thing at the end of their review: list wolverines as endangered, and grant them significant critical habitat in the U.S.


23 responses to “Wolverine Needs the Protection of the Endangered Species Act

  1. How about those wolverines!

  2. No! They do not have the right to exclude anyone else, only the enviros can do that.

  3. You completely lost me… I honestly have no idea what you typed above. Arent a select few ranchers, mining companies, and timber companies already exclusively using huge chunks of public land?

  4. You’re probably right, those ranchers spent millions to get tens of millions of tax payer dollars spent to truck in wolves from another country, to shut off roads, so only a select few could use the land, to have to leave their land lay fallow so an eagle could build a nest, so protected predators would have something to eat. Of course they were helped by the timber industry that spent millions to to close roads, stop timber sales, etc so they could force the taxpayers to spend hundreds of millions to fight fires and still get to watch the forest turn brown and black. I’m sure in both cases they wanted the tax breaks from losing money because predators were protected while they ate livestock, and while beetles killed trees that could not be cut.

  5. Marion, you mean unelected, unappointed folks like lobbyists from the ranching, farming, mining, energy companies spreading MILLIONS of dollars worth of cash and gifts around to state and federal politicians to gain political influence? How can you even pretend that the deck is stacked against your ilk with such anti wildlife forces in charge of governorships throughout the west, and in every major environment-influencing department in the federal government.

  6. PK, I came across the following article about the environmental movement and the lives it has cost after my post above. You might be interested, at least folks are waking up to jsut how much control they have taken.


  7. First of all pk, my posts are not mandatory reading, they are my opinion. Surely you are not suggesting that opinions that differ from yours should be banned are you?
    I have never made any secret of the fact I come from a food producing background, and prefer my food be produced in the United States.
    My problem is and always has been with the ESA and the ability of unelected, unappointed folks to use it to control other people just because they have the money to buy lawyers and judges. They accomplish only one thing, forcing others to do their will, they do not spend the money on animals that they want to save, they use their money to force others to spend the money. It may have good intentions when it came about, but it is a means of a few controlling the lives of many, and is about as UnAmerican as anything can be in the present usage.

  8. Marion, your comments can be found on almost every blog on the web. And you are always destructive, anti wolf, anti environmentalist, anti science, pro logging, pro ranching, pro construction, pro destruction. Often you change your position, depending on which blog you post. The only continuity is, you are strictly against wolves and all the other predators, maybe even all wildlife and you act as the organ of the ranchers position. Obviously you browse the worldwide web continuously. Therefore you sure are fully aware about the situation of our nature, our wildlife, our whole planet is in. I (and maybe a few others) would be interested to know, what your positive and constructive contribution to the environment is, what your suggestions are, what your solutions are? What else you have to offer besides your constant „Cry Wolf“ spectacle and logging the woods and ranching the land theories?

  9. No. First we must know how many there were and where. Second we need to know how many there are and where.
    Far too many resources are used by land grabbers for protecting a species that doesn’t need protecting. Frankly I don’t think all of the chasing, darting, collaring, etc does a lot of good for any species and may indeed be making matters worse. Look at the cost to not only the taxpayers, but individual families to protect a mouse to sooth someone’s ego. For that matter look at the millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars poured into the supposed sighting of the Ivory billed Woodpecker a few years ago, but what was important to those who “saw” it, it allowed them to stop a dam that would have provided water for rice farmers. I said then, and say now, it was a hoax.
    Back to the wolverines, they generally use land that is not used by people, except maybe some back country hikers, I guess areas considered to be habitat or inhabited by wolverines could be closed off to them. Beyond that it is turning buckets of money over to certain “non profits” to “study” them.

  10. Marion,

    I’d like to return to the original topic on this thread.

    Yes or no, based on what you know now, do you believe wolverine deserve additional protection in the lower 48?


  11. Marion –

    A 12-month status review of scientific literature and “the best available commercial and scientific data” (I paraphrase from the ESA) is generally conducted before a species is proposed for listing. Such a review would be the next step if the FWS decides to consider the petition at hand.

    As to the rest of your concerns, if you’re in the 26% who still support the Worst President in American History, then it’s very unlikely I’ll convince you to abandon your fear-based responses to predators.

  12. First SteveC, most ranches and farms are family owned and run, and yes when you have enivros breathing down your neck, taking away your ability to make a living, they appear as bigger than life monsters. Tehy put countless small lumber mills (and some big ones too) out of business, and now the forests burn.
    Farmers in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado have to leave parts of their grain fields alone to provide habitat for a rat. They are not compensated in any way by those who prefer mice to food, but they still have to pay the mortgage, taxes, irrigation, etc. By the way they cannot have a personal kitty that goes out doors.
    Ranchers in the designated wolf territory are expected to feed the wolves for those that want them….on other folks land. DOW may throw out a little money from time to time, but mighty little.
    As for the terrorists, do you really think that you can continue to live your life in the manner you want (if at all) if they ultimately win? Not fighting terrorism is at the expense of our whole way of life.

  13. It is a shame that the big environmental business keeps pushing around the little guy (oil companies, mining companies, timber companies, the livestock industry, the farming industry, hunting interests, etc.) Hopefully these tiny industries will one day have enough money to lobby in washington! I support killing terrorists too, just not at the expense of everything at home!

  14. Sorry, expecially is found with arthritic old hands. I missed it when I went back and checked.
    I am concerned about terrorists, whether it interfers with mandating land exclusively for the use of those with enough free time to back pack or not, it is a fact of life. Believe me, there is probably nothing the terrorist like better than the American concentration on his own pleasure and the desire to keep a darned old war from interfering with it.
    Otherwise this administration has at least held off on turning even more of our personal, private property rights over to the big environmental business, and make no mistake it is big business. To make matters worse it is not only big, very heavily funded, but it is a business loaded with lawyers who can break ordinary folks who try to stand up to them.

  15. Someone drank the kool aid. Whenever the president wants to distract from issues at home, he brings up the spectre of terrorism. I am convinced that we never finished the job in afghanistan and we went into iraq just so the president could have a huge distraction for the press and congress and get away with anything he wants to here. Kind of like western politicians getting everyone all riled up about wolves to distract the populous from the vast damage caused by energy development. Wars or no wars, the president seems to have had plenty of time to impose his will on our public lands allowing every corporation imaginable to get permits for drilling etc. And lets not get started on the cronies that he has appointed to every agency with any say over OUR lands…

    Is “expecially” in the same dictionary as “nucular”?

  16. I sincerely doubt that a president fighting a war against terrorists on two fronts and a beligereant congress is going to introduce another meg-million dollar wolf plant anywhere in the next 18 months. The east is where it should have started, expecially since there were already wolves in Yellowstone and the documentation almost brought the whole thing to a halt days before the lift off.
    The issue is really about control, that is evident by the total difference in opinion of those who had the wolves imposed on them and have to deal with them, and those who did the imposing and can sit back and tell others how wonderful the wolves are.

  17. Bring them back to the east! There are plans developing (probably wont happen with this president in office) to return wolves to the northeast. Find me one person/politician who supported the western wolf reintroduction who would not support the same in the northeast. Our wild areas should be preserved as natural as possible. I am not saying we should tear down cities. Stop blowing my words out of proportion.
    Once again, just because a pack has six litters does not mean they all will or can survive.

  18. Marion-

    Yes or no, based on what you know now, do you believe wolverine deserve additional protection in the lower 48?


  19. Actually the “historical number” of wolves EAST of the Mississippi was also a lot more than 1500, and the number of cows was zero before the white man came, along with zero cars, planes, trains, etc. So what does that all mean, are you saying everybody in this country has to disappear and turn it back to nature? How do you propose to accomplish that?
    Do you feel like the wolves should have been planted in the east before they were in the west since there were some populating the country?
    One pack this year was reported to have 6 litters by the way. FWS isn’t too helpful, I picked up their brochures at the alst wolf meeting in Cody and they still say the alpha male and female mate, generally for life, and have pups. It is what they omit that is telling, just how many mate every year.
    I’d have to go back thru all of the annual reports to see how many and when there were mega packs of 20 or more, but I can tell you it is no joke to those of us who deal with them.

  20. They have topped 20 members but all of those members do not hunt in one huge pack at the same time. Some stay behind and care for young and other split off into groups to hunt. Also, packs that large rarely stay that large for long as there are many strains associated with a large pack size. I also realize that they have multiple litters. I was in the park in the spring of 2005 when the slough creek pack had a record number of multiple litters. Survivability of those litters is another story… You should really learn a little bit about wolf biology before you make all these blanket generalized statements about their behavior. Since you are so interested in the historical numbers of wolverines, I can tell you that the historical number of wolves west of the mississippi was a hell of a lot more than 1500 and the historical number of cows was a hell of a lot less (0) than the millions that are there now.

  21. Are you saying that you are unaware that some of the Yellowstone packs have topped 20 members at times? I believe one pack reached over 30 before breaking up, the Druids, I think. Surely you realize they also have multiple litters per pack in Yellowstone too, don’t you?

  22. I find your comment especially entertaining, marion, since everything you say reads like a talking point for anti-wildlife groups. Since when do you care about historic numbers? You do a lot of estimating yourself about the number of wolves hunting together in a pack for example (20 must be some sort of a joke). Also, I have never heard you talk about multiple factors causing decline in a species (elk anyone?) even though the growth and decline of any species can be linked to dozens of factors (drought, depredation, disease etc.).

  23. Those replies sound suspiciously like talking points from some group trying to control other people thru the ESA. They are identical.
    Before any species is listed there should be a complete study of where they are (notoriously difficult to find), what historic numbers are, acutal not estimated, what factors appear to be causing their decline and what can be done without impacting private property rights.