February 05, 2013
Wolverine in the snow. Photo by: Bigstock.
"Scientific evidence suggests that a warming climate will greatly reduce the wolverine’s snowpack habitat," said Noreen Walsh, Director of the FWS's Mountain-Prairie Region.
Wolverines live, hunt, and breed in high mountainous areas near the tree-line. Since female wolverines depend on large snowpacks for building dens and raising kits, researchers fear that worsening climate change will constrict the wolverine's range.
The FWS decision comes after a long battle with environmentalists to have the wolverine listed. The Bush Administration twice denied protection to the wolverine in 2003 and 2008. In 2010, the Obama Administration admitted the wolverine deserved protection but stated that it was not a priority. Now, at the end of a court-ordered deadline, the administration is finally talking protection for the wolverine.
The listing, if it goes ahead, would prohibit hunting and trapping of the animal, but will not limit snowmobiling, skiing, logging, or development in wolverine habitat as it the U.S. FWS does not believe such activities "constitute significant threats to the wolverine," according to a press release.
"This proposal would give us the flexibility to tailor the protections for the wolverine provided by the ESA to only those things that are necessary," said Walsh.
Living solitary lives, wolverines are wanderers, moving up to 15 miles (24 kilometers) in a single day. While they often scavenge corpses—and can even bite through frozen bones—wolverines have also been known to take on prey as big as caribou and even defend a kill from a bear. Wolverine will also feed on berries and insects when available.
The FWS proposal also mentions possibly reintroducing wolverine into historic habitat in Colorado. The wolverine was decimated by hunting and trapping in the 19th Century. They are found across the high Northern Hemisphere from Siberia to Scandinavia to Canada.
Killer kittens: U.S. cats kill up to 25 billion birds and small mammals per year
(01/30/2013) Domesticated cats in the United States kill far more animals than previously thought — 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 – 20.7 billion small mammals per year — finds a study published this week in the journal Nature Communications.
Obama: 'We will respond to the threat of climate change'
(01/21/2013) In Obama's second inauguration speech today, the newly re-elected president of the U.S. reaffirmed his commitment to taking action on climate during his second term. Noting that ignoring climate change would "betray our children and future generations," Obama argued whole-heartedly for a transition to clean energy.
Fish unable to pass through dams in U.S. presents 'cautionary tale' for developing world
(01/17/2013) Dams create a largely impenetrable barrier for fish even when the dams were installed with specially-built passages, according to a new study in Conservation Letters. The scientists found that migrating fish largely failed to use the passages in the U.S., resulting in far fewer moving through the state-of-the-art hydroelectric dams than had been promised. The researchers say that their findings are a "cautionary tale" for developing nations.
Climate change already pummeling U.S. according to government report
(01/14/2013) Climate change is on the march across the U.S. according to a new draft report written by U.S. government scientists with input from 240 experts. It documents increasing and worsening extreme weather, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification among other impacts. Released Friday for public review, the report will be officially launched later this year or early in 2014.
2012 was America's warmest year on record
(01/08/2013) 2012 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous U.S. according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).