Today, Oregon Wild, along with a coalition of wildlife conservation groups, applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) decision to grant federal protections to wolverines, listing them as a "threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act. This landmark decision comes after more than 20 years of dedicated advocacy by wildlife conservation organizations working to safeguard the wolverine population.
Numbering only about 300 in the contiguous U.S., wolverines face significant threats from climate change, habitat loss, trapping, and other human-induced pressures.
"This listing, driven by the best available science, underscores the urgency of protecting these iconic animals facing threats from climate change, habitat loss, and trapping,” said Danielle Moser, Wildlife Program Manager at Oregon Wild. “While we appreciate the progress, we have concerns that this decision creates a potentially devastating loophole for trapping in wolverine habitat. Given the “scavenging” behavior of wolverines, it is critical that they receive comprehensive safeguards to ensure the species' survival in the face of a rapidly changing environment."
The Endangered Species Act (ESA), which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is a bipartisan, bedrock environmental law that has been successful in preventing extinction for over 99% of listed species. If not for the ESA and actions driven by the best available science, species such as the bald eagle, humpback whale, gray wolf, California condor, Oregon chub, and many others might have gone extinct. In addition to being incredibly successful, the ESA is also widely popular, with surveys repeatedly showing that a strong majority of Americans -80-90%- support this important law.
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