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Step up wolverine protections

Posted by Barbara Christensen at Nov 27, 2013 12:50 PM |

Wolverines are back in the Washington! But their hold in the North Cascades and Rockies is fragile – only about 300 remain in the contiguous United States, mostly in the northern Rockies. It is estimated that about two-thirds of wolverine's snowbound habitat will be gone by the end of the century as the climate warms. Finally, after years of delay and quite a bit of encouragement from Conservation Northwest, our allies, and supporters, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking action. They need to hear from you! Finally, after years of delay, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking action and they need to hear from you. Their proposal is a good start, but wolverines need more.

Step up wolverine protections

Wolverines in the Cascades and Rockies are rare and need more protection than currently afforded them in the new proposed ESA listing. Please take action! Photo: Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project

Wolverines are back in the Washington! But their hold in the North Cascades and Rockies is fragile – only about 300 remain in the contiguous United States, mostly in the northern Rockies. It is estimated that about two-thirds of wolverine's snowbound habitat will be gone by the end of the century as the climate warms.

Finally, after years of delay and quite a bit of encouragement from Conservation Northwest, our allies, and supporters, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking action. They need to hear from you!

COMMENT PERIOD RE-OPENED: By December 2nd, please submit a comment on regulations.gov 

The Service has proposed listing wolverine as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act due to habitat threats from climate change, barriers to movement between sub-populations, and trapping. This proposal is a good start, but wolverines need more.

What needs fixing? Inexplicably, the USFWS has flip-flopped on several important threats to wolverine survival that were recognized as significant in an earlier proposal. In 2010, when they determined protections were "warranted, but precluded," threats such as motorized winter recreation, alpine development, and transportation corridors were seen as adding significantly to those wolverines already face from climate change, loss of connected habitat, and trapping.

"Wolverines have a generally low reproductive rate and there’s not a lot of room for additional mortality without having an adverse effect on the population...raising awareness that there are reasons for conservation concern would be a good thing.” ~ Dr. Keith Aubrey, North Cascades Wolverine Project, 2010

Yet now, without proper scientific support, they no longer recognize these important threats. Collisions with highway vehicle kill wolverines. Localized areas of intense recreation use and development may displace wolverines or block dispersal – including within vital linkages north to Canada and east to the Rockies.

Shrinking habitat caused by climate change doesn’t diminish other threats, it makes them worse. Distances between sub-populations increase, habitat links diminish, and recreation users concentrate in remnant snowfields, adding more pressure on this stressed carnivore. Of particular concern are US Route 2, including Stevens Pass, which links wolverine in the Alpine Lakes with Canada’s wolverine stronghold to the north (see map, below).  

Take action details

When you take action online today, please ask them to improve the proposed wolverine protections by:

  • Including threats caused by disturbance, development, and transportation corridors. These can have an additive affect with climate change and other threats to jeopardize wolverine's future.
  • Prohibiting disturbance associated with motorized winter recreation, infrastructure development, and transportation corridors that results in “harassment” or “harm” of wolverines. Wolverines are extremely rare and need extra care.
  • Ensuring a well-connected network of habitat for denning and dispersal. Protecting those areas with deep, persistent, and reliable snow cover; as well as vital dispersal pathways both within the Cascades and to the Rockies, gives wolverines room to adapt to climate change and other disturbance.
  • Supporting efforts to provide safe passage for dispersing wolverine in the Cascades (I-90 Snoqualmie East Project, US Route 2 improvements) and other efforts that maintain or promote connectivity between wolverines in the Cascades and Rockies. 

Climate change and expanding human development are increasingly isolating wolverines to their mountain strongholds. Maintaining and restoring connected habitat and protecting wolverines from mortality and additional habitat loss is key to allowing them to persist in their snowy habitats and helping them move safely across the landscape.

Thank you for taking action to better protect wolverines today! Comments are due December 2nd.

[Gulo gulo basics] ~ [Citizen monitoring for WA wolverines] ~ [Federal register]

 

Wolverine links in Cascades

 

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Wolverines

Posted by Noreen Wedman at Dec 02, 2013 09:19 PM
Wolverines live full out I'm some of our most pristineand remote areas. All predators play an important part in the ecosystem that they inhabit by culling the week and sickly among herbivores and by aiding in population control. This, in turn, protects vegetation from being over grazed. Climate Change will be hard on Wolverines as their habitat shrinks. For all of the above reasons, they deserve protection.

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