June 5, 2007
Lori Nordstrom 406-449-5225 ext 208
Diane Katzenberger 303-236-4578
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO REVIEW STATUS OF THE WOLVERINE
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it is initiating a status review of the wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) to determine whether the species warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The Service is seeking new information from the public, government agencies, tribes, industry and the scientific and conservation communities regarding the status of and potential impacts to the wolverine. After gathering and analyzing this information, the Service will determine whether to propose adding the wolverine to the federal list of threatened and endangered species. To be fully considered in the status review, comments must be received on or before August 6, 2007.
“The Service will evaluate all existing and new information to determine whether impacts to the wolverine warrant a listing proposal,” said Mitch King, director of the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region. “Information from the public or scientific and commercial communities is invaluable in helping the Service determine the wolverine’s status.”
In particular, the Service plans to consider peer-reviewed scientific wolverine papers that are anticipated to be published late summer 2007 in the Journal of Wildlife Management. In North America, the habitat requirements, historical and current wolverine range, and possible impacts have been poorly understood.
In July 2000, the Service received a petition from the Biodiversity Legal Foundation and others to list the wolverine within the continguous United States as a threatened or endangered species and to designate critical habitat for the species. The Service published a petition finding in October 2003 stating that the petition failed to present substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that listing the wolverine may be warranted.
Subsequently, Defenders of Wildlife and others filed a complaint in June 2005 alleging the Service used the wrong standards to assess the wolverine petition. The U.S. District Court of Montana ruled that the petition finding was in error and ordered the Service to undertake a status review of the wolverine. The Service intends to complete this review by the court ordered due date of February 28, 2008.
The wolverine is the largest land species of the “mustelid” or weasel family, with adults weighing 17 to 40 pounds. It has thick brown fur, with a lighter brown or blonde “stripe” along its sides. It has large feet for traversing snow and strong jaws to enable it to feed on frozen carrion and bones. The wolverine inhabits boreal forests in the contiguous United States, Canada and Alaska.
Written comments may be submitted by mail to Wolverine Status Review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana Field Office, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601 or by e-mail to FW6_wolverine@fws.gov. Please submit electronic comments in an ASCII format or Microsoft Word file and avoid the use of any special characters or any form of encryption. Please include “Attn: wolverine status review” in the subject line of your e-mail message and provide your name and return address.
For more information about the wolverine please visit the Service’s web site at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
- FWS -