Endangered Species
2:03 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Officials Recommend Wolverine For Protection Under Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says wolverines need to be protected under the Endangered Species Act because warming temperatures are shrinking their habitat.

Scientists say the wolverine population is between 250 and 500 in the U.S., including those in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. They are under consideration for protection under the Endangered Species Act because of climate change.
Credit Flickr/NH53

These hardy members of the weasel family thrive in high elevations and deep snow, where they dig dens to raise their young.

In the past 50 years or so, wolverine populations have begun to recover from heavy trapping and poisoning in the early 1900s.

Shawn Sartorius is the lead wolverine biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "This is one of the few cases where things are looking pretty rosy right now but the future scenario is one that doesn’t look good."

If the recommendation goes forward, the wolverine will join the polar bear and several types of seals for protection under the Endangered Species Act because of threats from climate change.

Wildlife managers believe there are around 300 wolverines left in the lower 48 states.