A Biden administration proposal released on Wednesday aims to grant long-overdue threatened species protections to the North American wolverine. This response follows scientists’ warnings that climate change poses a significant threat, potentially melting away the species’ rare snowy mountain refuges and pushing them closer to extinction.
Time For Change
In the early 1900s, unregulated trapping and poisoning campaigns led to the near-extinction of wolverines across most of the U.S. Today, approximately 300 surviving animals in the contiguous U.S. exist in fragmented, isolated groups at high elevations in the northern Rocky Mountains.
Wolverines are now part of a growing list of species, including polar bears and crocodiles, deemed increasingly vulnerable as rising temperatures reshape the planet, impacting snowfall patterns and elevating sea levels.
In the upcoming years, the anticipated rise in temperatures is likely to diminish the mountain snowpack crucial for wolverines, affecting their ability to create dens for birthing and raising their young.
The decision made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday concludes over two decades of debates regarding the threats posed by climate change. These treat the long-term survival of this elusive species. The proposal states that protections under the Endangered Species Act are essential. This is due primarily to the ongoing and increasing impacts of climate change and associated habitat degradation and fragmentation.
The Largest Weasel
Resembling diminutive bears, these creatures hold the distinction of being the largest terrestrial weasels globally. They are often referred to as “mountain devils,” thriving in challenging alpine environments.
Former President Donald Trump dismissed protective measures for these animals. However, in 2022, a federal judge mandated the Biden administration to issue a final decision this week on whether to pursue safeguards.
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Former U.S. Forest Service research biologist Jeffrey Copeland emphasized that safeguarding the remaining habitat strongholds of wolverines is important. Moreover as it offers these creatures a crucial opportunity. Describing the listing of wolverines as threatened.
Wolverine populations inhabit secluded regions of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington state. While individual animals have been observed in California, Utah, Colorado, and Oregon in recent years, the proposal on Wednesday emphasized that there is “no evidence” indicating the establishment and breeding of these animals in those states, according to officials.
In conclusion, the proposed threatened species protections for the North American wolverine, presented by the Biden administration, mark a significant stride toward conservation in the face of climate change. As scientists continue to underscore the perilous threats posed by the changing climate, the decision acknowledges the urgency to shield these elusive creatures from the risk of extinction.
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