Idaho Resists Proposed ESA Protection For Wolverines

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The wolverine has experienced a steady decline since in the 19th century, primarily because of trapping, range reduction and habitat fragmentation.
  • The wolverine has experienced a steady decline since in the 19th century, primarily because of trapping, range reduction and habitat fragmentation.

Idaho joined Montana and Wyoming May 6 to push back against a new effort to provide new protections to the wolverine. Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service want to blanket the wolverine with endangered species protections in the lower 48 states, thereby ending trapping of the so-called "mountain devil." Environmentalists point to climate change melting mountain snow for the wolverines' continuing southern migration.

But the Associated Press reports that Idaho officials insist the protection isn't necessary for the estimated 250-300 wolverines that live primarily in the Northern Rockies.

The AP reported that the office of Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter "questioned how the federal government would help wolverines in the Rockies if its primary threat was a global issue."

"We just question whether the Endangered Species Act is the proper mechanism through which we can regulate climate change," Sam Eaton, legal counsel for Idaho's Office of Species Conservation told the AP.

But Matthew Bishop with the Western Environmental Law Center that's exactly why the federal government should intervene.

"When you throw in the effects of climate change, which is already occurring and certain to occur in the future, they certainly warrant an endangered listing," Bishop told the AP.