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Feds delay wolverine listing decision

Wolverine. Photo courtesy Roy Anderson/USFWS.

Wolverine. Photo courtesy Roy Anderson/USFWS.

Not everyone is convinced that the species is threatened by global warming

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Federal biologists last week said they aren’t quite ready to make a final decision about endangered species status for wolverine. The listing deadline has been pushed back by six months for another review of the science — a step that’s taken when there is “substantial scientific disagreement.”

“During the peer review process on our proposed rule to list the wolverine as threatened, we received a variety of opinions from the scientific community concerning the information we used to develop the proposed rules,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement. Background on wolverine conservation online here. Continue reading

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Colorado ski industry should embrace wolverine restoration

Bob Berwyn.

Bob Berwyn.

Opinion: Obstructing conservation runs counter the interest of most skiers

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The upcoming listing of North American wolverines as an endangered or threatened species has huge implications for Colorado, and also gives the Colorado ski industry a chance to work off some of the bad karma it earned for opposing the reintroduction of lynx to the mountains of our state.

Wolverines are largest member of the weasel family and need rugged alpine terrain covered with deep snow to reproduce. Sometime soon, within the next few weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will announce its listing decision, with the best available science suggesting that global warming is likely to reduce habitat for denning and breeding to the point that it will threaten the existence of the species.

That’s were Colorado comes in. With more high-elevation terrain than any other state in the Rockies, and plenty of steep, remote brush- and rock-strewn avalanche paths, our mountains could be a climate refuge for the animals, according to conservation biologists working on recovery plans for the rare critter. Continue reading

Biodiversity: Deadline looming for federal endangered species decision on wolverine

Will wolverines make a comeback in Colorado? PHOTO BY ZAC DOWLING, VIA THE CREATIVE COMMONS.

Will wolverines make a comeback in Colorado? Photo by Zac Dowling, via the Creative Commons.

Conservation strategy could include a Colorado reintroduction effort

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is on track to issue a proposed rule on the status of wolverine by Jan. 18, with most signs suggesting the agency will move forward to protect the rare mammal under the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species.

Federal biologists are working under a court-ordered deadline to issue a proposed rule by Jan. 18.  In a Dec. 14 status report, they said they will have rule ready on time. Once the proposed rule is issued, there will be a public comment period, with a final listing decision about one year later.

“All signs are pointing to a threatened listing,” said the Western Environmental Law Center’s Matt Bishop, adding that the USFWS may also prepare a critical habitat designation for release along with the proposed rule. Continue reading

Colorado: Wildlife advocates focus on wolverines

Will wolverines make a comeback in Colorado? PHOTO BY ZAC DOWLING, VIA THE CREATIVE COMMONS.

Conservation groups sponsoring a series of presentations around the state

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Wildlife advocates are teaming up for wolverine week in Colorado, with several presentations scheduled to give people a chance to meet on of the Rocky Mountains’ most elusive and interesting native mammals.

The series begins Jan. 26 at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards (6 pm. to 8 pm.), as biologist Jason Wilmot shares his experiences tracking, studying, and unraveling the mysteries about this rare animal.

“Their Latin name, Gulo gulo, means “glutton’s glutton” and they come by it because wolverines make their living by scavenging,” said Wilmot. “They have a tremendous sense of smell and will travel over an entire mountain following the scent of carrion that may be buried under six feet of snow. Then they eat as much as they can because they never know where or when their next meal will be.” Continue reading

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