BILLINGS – The tenacious wolverine, a snow-loving carnivore sometimes called the “mountain devil,” could soon join the list of species threatened by climate change – a dubious distinction putting it in the ranks of the polar bear and several other animals the government says will lose crucial habitat as temperatures rise.

Federal wildlife officials Friday proposed Endangered Species Act protections for the wolverine in the lower 48 states. That’s a step twice denied under the Bush administration, then delayed in 2010 when the Obama administration said other imperiled species had priority.

It likely means an end to trapping the animals for their fur outside Alaska.

But federal officials said they won’t use the animal’s status as a means to regulate greenhouse gases blamed in climate change. And other human activities – from snowmobiling and ski resorts to timber harvest – would not be curtailed because they do not appear to be significant threats to wolverines, officials said.

There are an estimated 250 to 300 wolverines in the contiguous U.S., clustered in small, isolated groups primarily in the Northern Rockies of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington. Larger populations persist in Alaska and Canada.

Maxing out at 40 pounds and tough enough to stand up to grizzly bears, the animals will be no match for anticipated declines in deep mountain snows female wolverines need to establish dens and raise their young, scientists said.

In some areas, such as central Idaho, suitable habitat could disappear entirely, officials said.

Yet because those losses could take decades to unfold, federal wildlife officials said there’s still time to bolster the population, including by reintroducing them to the high mountains of Colorado.

“This is a species there is still time to do something about,” said Mike Thabault, ecological services director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mountain-prairie region.

Wildlife advocates, who sued to force the government to act on the issue, said the animal’s plight should be used by the Obama administration to leverage tighter restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.

***

As with the polar bear, the government is sidestepping that thorny proposition with the wolverine, and said in Friday’s proposal that listing the animal as threatened “will not regulate greenhouse gas emissions.”

Thabault said the agency would be on tenuous scientific grounds if it tried to draw a link between specific emission sources and impacts on wolverines.

Advocates expressed disappointment, with Noah Greenwald from the Center for Biological Diversity saying the administration “should not be exempting greenhouse gas emissions from the Endangered Species Act.”

A Washington, D.C., attorney, John Martin, who represented the energy industry during litigation over polar bears, said he expects no change in the administration’s policy against using endangered wildlife to regulate emissions.

Friday’s proposal also allows Colorado’s wildlife agency to reintroduce an experimental population of wolverines that eventually could spill into neighboring portions of New Mexico and Wyoming.

It would shut down wolverine trapping in Montana, the only one of the lower 48 states where the practice is still allowed an annual quota of five animals.

This year’s trapping season was blocked by a state court order, but Montana officials hoped to restore trapping next year.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said the state will review the federal proposal and had not settled on a response.

***

Once found throughout the Rocky Mountains and in California’s Sierra Nevada, wolverines were wiped out across most of the U.S. by the 1930s due to unregulated trapping and poisoning campaigns, said Bob Inman, a wolverine researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society.

In the decades since, they have largely recovered in the Northern Rockies but not in other parts of their historical range.

While reintroducing the animals farther south might seem counterintuitive, Inman said Colorado’s abundance of 14,000-foot mountains would make it well suited as a refuge for the animals as warmer temperatures set in at lower elevations.

Only one wolverine currently inhabits the state, a male that wandered down several years ago from northern Wyoming’s Teton Range, about 500 miles away. Inman said Colorado has enough high-mountain territory to support up to 100 more of the animals.

“That’s like a 30 percent increase in their population size,” he said.

Any reintroduction into Colorado would require approval from state wildlife commissioners and the Legislature, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said.

Representatives of the state’s ski and agriculture industries in the past have raised concerns that bringing wolverines back could hurt their industries. Hampton said no decision has been made and it could take years to work out all the details.

Other areas where wolverines once roamed also could serve as future refuges.

Those include portions of Utah, Oregon’s Cascade Range, Wyoming’s Big Horn Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, said Shawn Sartorius, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service based in Montana.

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(64) comments

RPT

Yep.. Like I say... Very,very sick.

RPT

Your sick Miss Rickie...Very, very sick... Please seek help.
Anyone who would take pleasure in that kind of slaughter, and brag about it, has to be deeply disturbed.
There is no shame in seeking help..Please make the call.
Please, please tell us you don’t own an assault rifle.

richardr11

elk and elk calves being managed by their apex predator is a slaughter? no son its nature. get over it and get used to it because there is A LOT MORE where that came from. The wolves WILL CONTinue to manage the elk and deer and the bears and cougars WILL CONTinue to manage the elk calves. you lost. we win. :)

richardr11

and many many hundreds of elk and deer are being harvested by the wolves, bears, and cougars. many elk calves WILL continue to be harvested by the bears and cougars. you mad son? hahaha

richardr11

that scene is happening 24/7 365 days a year and YOU CAN'T DO A SINGLE THING ABOUT IT, Many more elk, deer, and elk calves will be sacrificed in order to feed the wolves, bears and cougars. You lose. :)

mt365

Gadfly, Roger Ranger or what ever your name is.

Paul Harvey said: God Made a Farmer

RPT

Miss Rickie... There is no shame in seeking help..Please just do it.. T.I.A.

richardr11

time to move out of your moms basement miss rpt please do it

Gadfly

There is indeed a war on wildlife in Montana and it may be getting more intense with the far right conservative legislature. But then there has been a war on wildlife since the dawn of civilization with expanding agriculture, ranching, development, extraction industries, and sportsmen who want to kill off the predator population and thereby disrupt the normal ecosystem in the wilderness so that they can have more ungulates to kill. We have agencies to hopefully protect wildlife, wildlife habitat, and the environment, but if they do not do what some of the above elements think they should, then those elements and politicians who think like them want to politically manage wildlife and wilderness for their own self-centered ends. Then there is the problem of the desire of states to manage wildlife at the state level when that wildlife is on national forests or coming out of national parks. State by state management of wildlife, particularly predators, often means political management and that is terrible for wildlife, predators in particular, but also entire wildlife ecological systems, flora and fauna. If such management is carried too far, as it looks like it may, then Montana and other western states’ spite will harm their own tourist industry; but then many of the above political elements probably do not care about that. Nor do they care or fail to understand that Montana has an opportunity to leave a true legacy of wilderness and total ecological systems of wildlife. Keep it wild. Let nature.

RPT

So your thinking a perfect balance and a brilliant future for the state of Montana would be to turn the entire state of Montana into a predator pit like has been allowed to happen through the slaughter of the wildlife in Yellowstone?.. I don’t think so.... Perhaps you didn’t get the memo but “We the People” are here and we’re not leaving... What part of that don’t you people understand?

richardr11

montana is already a predator pit and you CAN'T DO single thing about it son. we got over 1000 wolves, THOUSANDS OF BEARS AND COUGARS. The bears and cougars keep the elk calves in check and the wolves keep the rest of the elk and deer in check. wolves hunt elk and deer YEAR ROUND and the bears and cougars get to take out an unlimited amount of elk calves. u mad? :)

RPT

186 ( reported ) and counting.
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And another 205 (reported ) harvested in Idaho.

richardr11

many many elk and deer are being harvested by the wolves, bears and cougars. not to mention all of the elk calves that will be harvested by the wolves, bears, and cougars. You lost. We won. hahaha the wolves, bears, and cougars get UNLIMITED hunting tags for elk, deer, and elk calves. haha The wolves WILL CONTINUE keeping the elk and deer herds in check YEAR ROUND and the bears and cougars will continue keeping the elk calves in check. You mad that the wolves, bears, and cougars get UNLIMITED elk, deer, and elk calf tags? haha

richardr11

many many elk and deer have been killed by wolves, bears, and cougars and they will continue to be killed by wolves, bears, and cougars. you mad? you mad that the wolves get UNLIMITED ELK AND DEER TAGS? The bears and cougars will CONTINUE killing as many elk calves as possible. You LOST. The wolves WILL continue killing elk and deer YEAR ROUND. YOU LOST

richardr11

You lost. Wolves reproduce at a rate of 30-50% each year. This means HUNDREDS of wolves born this year to add to the already 1000 plus wolves that live in Montana. The wolves in montana get UNLIMITED elk and deer hunting tags and they will continue eating as many elk as they want and not a single thing you can do about it. LOL tHE cougars and bears will continue keeping the elk calves in check. YOU LOST.

richardr11

And many many elk and deer continue to be harvested by wolves in Montana and Idaho. Wolves get UNLIMITED elk and deer hunting tags that can and WILL BE USED YEAR ROUND. They also can take as many elk calves as they want along with the bears and cougars. You have lost this battle. You can't do a single thing about it because the wolves WILL continue eating elk and deer YEAR ROUND. Many elk, deer, and elk calves will be sacrificed to feed, the wolves, bears, and cougars and not a single thing you can do about it. You mad that WE'RE WINNING? HAHA

richardr11

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b3py1xa8p0

this is happening 24/7 365 in montana and Idaho and you cannot do a single thing about it. the wolves get UNLIMITED ELK AND DEER TAGS THAT will be used YEAR ROUND. You lose. Wolves will continue keeping the elk and deer in check and the bears and cougars will continue keeping the elk calves in check. We won. :)

richardr11

right now as we speak wolves are killing a bunch of deer and elk in montana and idaho and you can't do a single thing about it. HUNDREDS of more wolves will be born this year and they will get UNLIMITED ELK AND DEER HUNTING TAGS that can and will be used year round. Many elk and deer and elk calves will continue to die to feed the wolves, bears, and cougars. You LOST. We won. Wolves WILL continue eating deer and elk at an alarming raTE and not a thing you can do about it. :)

LCHelenajr

This is just the enviros trying to use the Wolverines to make money in future lawsuits.

we are already seeing the benefits of the Canadian tar sands and the oil drilling in ND. The Rocky mountain states currently enjoy the lowest gas prices in the country. Missoula county failed in their attempt to stop the tar sands!!!!!!! lol

The enviros would sue god if it was possible. They will use any angle to try and stop human development. The enviros are hypocrites as they are a part of the problem, but do nothing to help solve the situation.

richardr11

sorry son, but many elk calves will have to be sacrificed to feed the cougars and bears and the wolves will keep the rest of the elk in check by hunting them down and eating them. The wolves, bears, and cougars get unlimited elk and deer steaks to eat. :)

boo boo da bear
boo boo da bear

Richard you are one sorry human ,but very typical for a liberal

gomer13

Sorry RIchie but while you cry behind your computer and smoke dope, real conservationists are hunting and trapping wolves. and keeping them in check. As long as they are around I will have unlimited ones to shoot. When are you going to answer me? What state do you live in? Have you ever seen a wild elk? Have you ever seen a wild wolf?

richardr11

the real conservationists are the wolves, bears, and cougars and they ARE keeping the elk, deer, and elk calves in check. You Lose. Wolves WILL continue eating elk and deer YEAR ROUND 24/7 365 and cougars and bears WILL continue eating as many elk calves as they want. U mad? We win. The wolves get UNLIMITED elk and deer tags and the cougars and bears get UNLIMITED elk calf tags. These three wild predators are the ones that WILL continue keeping the elk and deer in check YEAR ROUND. :)

richardr11

the amount of wolves you kill WON'T PUT A DENT IN THE WOLF POPULATION son and wolves reproduce at a rate of 30-50% each year. Already over 1000 wolves in Montana, so you aren't keeping anything in check, but the wolves, cougars, and bears will most certainly continue keeping the elk and deer in check. The wolves get UNLIMITED elk and deer hunting tags that can and will be used year round and the cougars and bears get to eat an unlimited amount of elk calves. :)

Kuato

Like the black widow spider who weaves her web one strand at a time ,so too does the NWO and their U.N.agenda 21 plan of cataloging and controlling all human life on this planet. Another cash cow for the third branch of agenda 21, the enviro -nazi' and their social engineered useful idiots who support this.

Sukey

What a beautiful picture of a wolverine family. How lucky the photographer was to stumble onto something so rare. These are beautiful animals. Thanks for sharing it with us, Missoulian. Job well done in your report as well. Please keep us informed. You've told us before that the Western Environmental Law Center was spearheading the litigation to preserve these animals. There are very few environmental lawsuits I would endorse anymore, most are to grab attention for donations. This one is different, and its needed.

RPT

I’ll lay you odds that photo was taken with a trail camera.

hellgatenights

Dang! Where were the feds when the wooly mammoth needed a little help?

Here we see the raw dynamics of the war at hand. The progressive "Central Committee" types insist on job killing programs, even when there is not a shred of evidence to support it. Why would they do this??

Simple Answer: To get you hicks, working people, squatters, euro-trash and everyone else not listed off of the land......for good! They have done a great job so far, as we see in Missoula which would be a museum by now were it not for the rich people that move here to buy a big house out on Big Flat.

All evidence proves that the lynx and wolverine will find very limited suitable habitat in Montana, regardless if man is here or not.

Same for those little mountain caribou that wander through the north woods.........they are on the far fringes of their home range......SO........Why not use the same irrational, childish rhetoric for them and seal off thousands of miles of public lands for them?

It's coming.......will just be a year or two.

boo boo da bear
boo boo da bear

The good thing is wolves love wolverine and have been eating them since 1994 when the idiots reintroduced them

Alan Johnson

I would love to see the wolf who would tangle with a wolverine!

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

I can't say that Wolves have anything to do with Wolverine numbers being low although a pack of wolves will most certainly tangle with any thing that they feel is competion in their territory including Grizzly Bears. I don't have a problem with Wolverines being protected simply because we know so little about them. No one is certain if there are many more or less in Montana that there was decades ago. That's a secret for the most part. They are certainly few and far between byt possibly they have always been? They have a huge range and are hard to gather data on. Curious to see where this leads.

Alan Johnson

One thing we know though is that a much great population of wolves in Canada does not seem to put a dent in a much greater population of wolverines in Canada. Anecdotal account of "wolves "known" to take on grizzly bears have no documentation to support it.

RobertR

Alan wake up and come into the real world?
Wolves have been know to take on grizzly bears,

richardr11

u have no proof that wolves have eaten wolverines in montana.

RobertR

little richard since your Mr Know it All ?

Google, (do wolves eat wolverines)

RobertR

little richarad: your so right about the lions, bears and wolves eating deer and elk and yet again your so briliant.
The more lions, bears and wolves there are the more lions, bears and wolves that I can hunt. I'm glad you brought this to my attention.

richardr11

robert, the wolves get UNLIMITED ELK AND DEER TAGS and the bears and cougars get UNLIMITED elk calf tags. u mad? :)

gomer13

RIchard, WHere are you from? Have you ever seen a elk, wolf or wolverine in the wild?

mt365

I would like to see people with a degree in psychology to stay away from wildlife management in the west and spend more time on gun violence in this country

RPT

As you can see Ms Richard is not well ...Rather then responding to Ms Richards childish repetitive rants or her encouraging others to break the law....It’s far more effective to click on the ‘Report Abuse’ option.
I’ve had several of her post removed by that method... If all of us do it.. The Missoulian can, has and will take action and remove her posts... T.I.A.

Comment deleted.
RPT

Mad?.. Why would I be mad ?.. Explain what you mean by that goofy statement?.. Lived here all my life and I’ve never seen a wolverine.. Bet you haven’t either.
Any of those nasty critters still left down there in California? Or did you people kill them all off like you did the grizzly. Only griz left in California is on your state flag.
What a joke that is.
Should have went with the Redwood.

richardr11

we got the wolverine listed as endangered. You mad? lol although the wolves will CONTINUe keeping the elk and deer in check YEAR ROUD, it has been found out that the top two predators that eat elk calves are bears and cougars and there is a ton of bears and cougars in montana and they get to eat as many elk calves as they want/ they get UNLIMITES elk calf hunting tags. :) We win.

RPT

There you go again Ms Richard.. Ignoring the issue and questions and making false statements...This is NOT a done deal.. It’s just proposed ... Re:... “Federal wildlife officials Friday proposed Endangered Species Act protections for the wolverine in the lower 48 states".....Seems to me it’s overkill when a ban on trapping of the wolverine would accomplish the same thing... But that’s typical government peeps for you.

richardr11

the wolves go after the pregnant elk mothers and the cougars and bears go after the elk calves. the elk calves are tasty morsels for the cougars and bears. you know you LOST son. the wolves, cougars, and bears will continue eating elk and deer steaks YEAR ROUND and for many many years to come in Montana. ;)

Comment deleted.
gomer13

Richard, Where are you from? Have you ever seen a elk, wolf or wolverine in the wild?

richardr11

awesome, another win for the real wildlife conservationist. haha :) next we need to keep filing lawsuits to protect the grizzly bear. the grizzly bear keeps the elk in check by taking out elk calves. you take out elk calves and a lot of them, you keep the elk in check,

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Ummmmmm. The Grizzly Bear is protected here. Do you mean "continued protection?" Just a reminder, wolves eat elk calves as well. I hope there is enough to go around.

richardr11

yea wolves do but the top predators that kill the most elk calves are bears and cougars and there are THOUSANDS of bears and cougars in montana eating as many elk calves as they can get their teeth on. it does not look good for the elk population in montana. :) the elk are being controlled by the wolves year round and by the elk calf managers the cougar and bear. the bear and cougar get to eat as many elk calves as they want. :)

RPT

Your sick Ms Richard... Very ,Very sick.. Please seek help.
Anyone who would take pleasure in that kind of slaughter is deeply disturbed.. You don't own an assault rifle do you?

richardr11

nature son elk calves WILL be managed by the bear and cougar. you can't do a single thing about it. elk calves are very tasty to the bears and cougars, we got a triple threat here son and this is why you know you have LOST. montana has got thousands of bears and cougars and they prey on elk calves lik no other. the wolves keep the elk and deer in check 24/7 365 days a year. hunt the elk calves, and you will really keep the elk population in check. the cougar, bear, and wolf are the three best weapons at keeping the elk and deer in check. :)

gomer13

you know the drill, at this point. answer my questions

troutcreek

An ESA listing is long overdue. It seems the USFWS will only do what is needed and necessary if taken to court.

Gadfly

The arguments for continued wolverine trapping for subsistence or recreational purposes are that they are not threatened, which it seems they are in Montana with only 250-300; that there are plenty in Canada (20,000 approximately) and Alaska, so why worry about Montana, well because they are here and in Montana purview and are therefore our responsibility to protect. Global warming may soon threaten them everywhere since they like cold, snowy climates and go for higher elevations. Recreational trapping a threatened species because it is recreational is a perverse logic. Subsistence trapping is also extremely weak, subsistence trapping to extinction or threatened status. Go find other work and recreation. The arguments for war on wildlife are old: subsistence, recreation, encroachment for other reasons such as development, extraction industries, ranching and farming. Quite often those arguments are by a very, very few. Hunters and trappers represent only about 5% of the USA population although they may be about 19% in Montana. Other threatened species are also threatened by these ages’ old arguments, such as the Bluefin Tuna, some whale populations, lions, elephants. Hunters and trappers, ranchers and others, and the wildlife agencies that work for them (FWP of Montana, USDA Wildlife Services, USFWS), and other states’ wildlife agencies, will not always look out for the best interests of wildlife over these mentioned human groups, thus the need for conservation groups to hold them accountable for the best interest of wildlife and biodiversity and all the rest of us.

Ellowe

It's seems that all wildlife, in the knuckle scrapping northwestern states, have been deemed intrusive and unnecessary except that which the mighty "hunting" community wishes to preserve for themselves, ie: deer, elk and moose.

So it begs the question, why live in wilderness states, if you are so intent on destroying it and its inhabitants?! If you don't like the wildlife, don't live there.

Snowcrest

Ellowe , It's obvious you are an anti-hunter, using this article to voice your juvenile, off-topic rant, so now it's my turn to asses you.
It's apparent you dont live in a "wilderness state" and probably have a carbon footprint ten times the size of your mouth, ie: huge primary home,second vacation home, lots of cars and toys,frequent jet plane rides,etc, so it begs to question, why even comment on what happens out here when you are fully engaged in destroying the planet with your own lifestyle? Is it because you want to just make yourself feel good in light of you wasteful existence?

richardr11

u mad that the wolverine is going to get the protection it deserves? cry me a river.

Snowcrest

Richard , I agree with you that the wolverine is not endangered. Like you, I think the wolf and the wolverine are being used by the environmentalists to further their anti-everything agenda. Again, thank you Richard for your efforts to educate our readers about the farce that's being cast upon us in the name of preservation.

gomer13

Richard... Native state, and elk, wolf and wolverine sightings in the wild in your life?

JayJ

How exactly are wolverines threatened by climate change? Just stop allowing people to trap them.

elsie

Environmentalists want to use the wolverine's plight to leverage tighter restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.
And they may also want to use the canaries' plight to leverage some good air into the coal mine. It's simply insidious what those enviros will do.

Roger
Roger

Just more global warming propaganda featured by the left-biased mainstream media. Polar bears are certainly not endangered, and now they are using the wolverine to further promote the scam. The wolverine has survived the Medieval Warm Period, which was warmer than today, there's no correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global temperature, and there's been no warming for 16 years.

Professor J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School says, “To list a species that is currently in good health as an endangered species requires valid forecasts that its population would decline to levels that threaten its viability. In fact, the polar bear populations have been increasing rapidly in recent decades due to hunting restrictions. Assuming these restrictions remain, the most appropriate forecast is to assume that the upward trend would continue for a few years, then level off.

“These studies are meant to inform the US Fish and Wildlife Service about listing the polar bear as endangered. After careful examination, my co-authors and I were unable to find any references to works providing evidence that the forecasting methods used in the reports had been previously validated. In essence, they give no scientific basis for deciding one way or the other about the polar bear.”

If the polar bear is the 650-kilogram canary in the climate change coal mine, why are its numbers INCREASING?

The latest government survey of polar bears roaming the vast Arctic expanses of northern Quebec, Labrador and southern Baffin Island show the population of polar bears has jumped to 2,100 animals from around 800 in the mid-1980s.

(May 18, 2011 CNSNews.com) - The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the organization of scientists that has attempted to monitor the global polar bear population since the 1960s, has issued a report indicating that there was no change in the overall global polar bear population in the most recent four-year period studied.

“The total number of polar bears is still thought to be between 20,000 and 25,000,” the group said in a press release published together with a report on the proceedings of its 15th meeting

20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide is exactly the same population estimate the group made following its 14th international meeting.

Readneck

This is ridiculous. Is this your full time job, trolling?

Dub

Once again Roger, you are right on---This is a ruse to secure more jobs for government people at the expense of the private sector. Al Gore took the money and ran when he figured out that science was against his findings. The global warming nuts certainly are getting creative and there will be many more.

DoItRight
DoItRight

Roger must be off of his medication again.

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