MISSOULA, Mont. (KIFI/KIDK)-A wide coalition of conservation groups filed suit Monday challenging a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision withholding Endangered Species Act protection for wolverines.
It is estimated only 300 wolverines now remain in the lower 48 states.
Without new conservation efforts, the coalition believes wolverines face localized extinction as a result of climate change, habitat infringement, and low genetic diversity.
Earthjustice is representing a broad coalition of conservation groups including the Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the Clearwater, Idaho Conservation League, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Sierra Club and Rocky Mountain Wild.
“The wolverine is a famously tough creature that doesn’t back down from anything, but even the wolverine can’t overcome climate change by itself,” said Earthjustice attorney Amanda Galvan. “To survive, the wolverine needs the protections that only the Endangered Species Act can provide.”
“I and countless other Idahoans were heartbroken when Idaho's last remaining mountain caribou herd went extinct,” said Brad Smith of the Idaho Conservation League. “The Fish and Wildlife Service must act soon to ensure that Idaho's wolverines do not share the same fate.”
Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance conservation program manager Chelsea Carson said, “the science is clear, climate change and habitat fragmentation are threatening the iconic wolverine. We urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do its job, listen to the science, and protect wolverines under the Endangered Species Act.”
You can read the full Earthjustice lawsuit here.