Wolverines are one of the rarest and wildest creatures found in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Once found in many mountain ranges across North American, this elusive animal now roams a small fraction of its historic range, with approximately 300 remaining in the Northern Rockies. Greater Yellowstone is one of the last strongholds for wolverines.
As wolverine numbers dwindled, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposed protecting the increasingly rare mammal under the Endangered Species Act, a move Greater Yellowstone Coalition supported. In 2014, the agency suddenly reversed course, over the objections of its own scientists, and determined the wolverine did not warrant new protections. In response, Greater Yellowstone Coalition and several other conservation groups, sued the Service and asked a judge to overturn the agency’s surprising decision.
On April 4, 2016, Judge Dana Christensen sided with Greater Yellowstone Coalition and our partners, ruling: “The Service erred when it determined: (1) that climate change and projected spring snow cover would not impact the wolverine at the reproductive denning scale in the foreseeable future, and (2) that small population size and low genetic diversity do not pose an independent threat to wolverine viability in the United States. By incorporating these determinations into the Withdrawal, the Service's decision against listing the wolverine as threatened under the ESA is arbitrary and capricious.”
This important ruling means that wolverines will get another shot at the protections they need and deserve. Our goal is to ensure wolverines, a true symbol of the region’s wildness, remain a part of Greater Yellowstone for years to come. We are grateful to our members for standing with us to protect one of Greater Yellowstone’s fiercest and rarest animals. Our good friends at Earthjustice also deserve kudos for so ably representing Greater Yellowstone Coalition and our partners.
-- Scott Christensen, Conservation Director