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Missoula District Court: USFWS has two months to consider wolverine listing as climate change intensifies

Wolverines, like grizzly bears, are difficult to count. But biologists estimate that fewer than 300 wolverines remain in the Northern Cascade and Rocky Mountains. (U.S. Department of Transportation) As the effects of climate change continue to intensify, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must finally decide if a warming climate threatens wolverine survival enough to require listing the species as threatened, according to a court settlement.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this month agreed to decide by the end of August whether wolverines in the lower 48 states should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. The agreement, filed in Missoula federal district court, is the result of numerous conservation groups suing the USFWS in March for failing to carry out a judge’s 2016 order to finalize a ruling “at the earliest possible, defensible moment in time,” stressing “that time is now.”

The nine conservation groups included the Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the Clearwater, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Idaho Conservation League, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Rocky Mountain Wild.

“Climate change and habitat fragmentation are pushing wolverines to the brink,” said Jonathan Proctor, Defenders of Wildlife Rockies and Plains program director, in […]

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