November 20th, 2013 by Anja Heister
With fewer than 250 individuals left in the Rocky Mountain States, wolverines (gulo gulo) can no longer withstand the cumulative effects of climate change, shrinking habitat, development and other human activities including recreational trapping.
Only endangered species status will prevent legal, recreational trapping of wolverines.
Being amazing mountaineers, who can easily and quickly scale huge mountain tops, wolverines depend on snow-covered areas for finding food and mates, migrating, building dens and raising their young.
Yet the USFWS is proposing listing wolverines as merely ‘threatened”, with a special rule that would still allow many of the human activities that are already causing their numbers to dwindle. This comes on the heels of a few vocal states questioning the climate science that supports the need for protection. These states have a vested interested in continuing their recreational trapping programs and they oppose wolverine protection for political reasons.
What You Can Do:
Wolverines need full endangered-species protection – they cannot afford anything less if they are to survive. Please urge the USFWS to put science before politics and protect wolverines so that they have a chance for survival. Please copy and paste the comment below, personalize it and send it today.
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I urge you to grant full endangered-species protection and critical habitat designation for wolverines.
Wolverines are extremely vulnerable to indiscriminate and baited deadly traps and snares. Studies in Montana have shown that a large number of female wolverines are pregnant when trappers kill them. Squires et al. (2007) found that, of the 14 wolverines instrumented and followed in the Pioneer Mountains study area, 6 were killed in traps, including 4 adult males and 2 pregnant adult females. The risk of wolverines getting killed in traps set for wolves is increasing and these incidents are likely not reported at all.
Fewer than 250 individuals remain in the wild. Given the fatal incidents caused by traps set for wolves (which are likely not reported), and the cumulative threats posed by other human activities coupled with the impacts of climate change, wolverines need to be fully protected as an endangered species to ensure their survival.