Energy & Environment

Green groups set to sue after Trump administration declines to protect wolverines

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Environmental groups immediately pledged to file suit after the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Thursday removed protections for the wolverine.

The rare creature — there are an estimated 300 living in pockets of Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming and northeast Oregon — is the largest member of the weasel family. It resembles a cross between a bear and a honey badger, with long claws used to take down its prey.

“New research and analysis show that wolverine populations in the American Northwest remain stable, and individuals are moving across the Canadian border in both directions and returning to former territories. The species, therefore, does not meet the definition of threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),” FWS wrote in a press release.

But environmentalists say the low numbers indicate the species is deserving of protection. 

“With fewer than 300 wolverines left in the contiguous United States, there is no justification for the FWS’ decision to deny protection. Listing wolverines as threatened or endangered would trigger new, badly needed conservation efforts,” Earthjustice said in a release.

A coalition of groups sent a letter Thursday giving FWS the required 60 day notice that they intend to sue.

“Recent scientific information makes clear that wolverines face threats from destruction of their snowy habitat due to climate change,” Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso said in a release. “We intend to take action to make sure that the administration’s disregard of the real impacts of climate change does not doom the wolverine to extinction in the lower-48 states.”

Tags Earthjustice Endangered Species Act ESA Fish and Wildlife Service FWS wolverine

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