FWS finds petition to list wolverine in continuous 48 states "not warranted"
73 Fed. Reg. 12929 (Tuesday, March 11, 2008)(Fish & Wildlife Service; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the North American Wolverine as Endangered or Threatened)
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), the population of the North American wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) that occurs in the contiguous United States. After a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we have determined that the population of North American wolverine occurring in the contiguous United States does not constitute a listable entity under the Act. Therefore, we find that the petition to list the North American wolverine (Gulo gulo luscus) that occurs in the contiguous United States is not warranted for listing. The Service will continue to seek new information on the taxonomy, biology, ecology, and status of the North American wolverine and we will continue to support cooperative conservation of wolverines in the contiguous United States.
Photo from FWS wolverine home page
Summary of Differences in Conservation Status... The wolverine has a range of legal statuses under State regulations in the United States and Canadian Provincial designations. The differences in legal conservation status conveyed by the States and Provinces are mixed in each country, but do not appear significantly different from each other. Some differences exist in terms of biological conservation status related to small and effective population sizes, and habitat availability and connectivity... We have concluded that the differences in biological conservation status between the United States and Canadian wolverine populations are not significant...
Summary for Discreteness... The international boundary between Canada and the United States currently leads to some differences in the control of exploitation and conservation status of the wolverine... The Service finds that the existing data do not indicate that North American wolverines in the contiguous United States are ‘‘markedly separated’’ from those in Canada and Alaska....
Significant Portion of the Range Analysis... Wolverines in the contiguous United States contain a subset of the genetic haplotypes found in the Canadian populations, and therefore do not represent a unique population. Thus, the species does not meaningfully contribute to representation of Gulo gulo luscus. The populations in Canada and Alaska are relatively large and contiguous, and are not dependent on connectivity to the contiguous U.S. population.
COMMENTARY: A challenge of this FWS decision, which relies heavily on the status of the species in Canada, is nearly a certainty. See AP wire.