Feds propose listing wolverines as an endangered species
Federal wildlife officials have proposed protecting wolverines under the Endangered Species Act.
The notoriously fierce scavenger-predators (commonly referred to as “mountain devils” and “skunk bears”) build dens in deep alpine snow to rear their young, according to the Los Angeles Times. As climate change has reduced snowfall and prompted earlier spring melts, wolverines in the contiguous United States could lose 31 percent of their habitat over the next 30 years and 63 percent of their habitat over the next 75, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal noted.
There are only 250 to 300 wolverines estimated to be in the contiguous United States, with most living in the northern Rocky Mountains; a smaller group lives in the North Cascades. One lone wolverine was recorded living in the Sierra Nevada.
Trapping and predator control nearly drove wolverines in the lower 48 states to extinction in the early 20th century. The proposed protections would not apply to wolverines in Alaska.