Most Ferocious Predator on Planet Is No Match for Global Warming
The United States is weighing a decision that would protect the wolverine under the Endangered Species Act.
by Maria Goodavage
Whither the wolverine? The only wolverines I’ve ever seen in real life were the football players at the University of Michigan. And no wonder: Actual four-legged wolverines aren’t creatures you run into on a daily basis.
There are only about 250 to 300 of them in the lower 48, with most living in cold sections of the Rocky Mountains. They tend to live at elevations greater than 7,000 feet, and they must have snow almost until summer, because snow is essential for making their dens. Obviously their habitat is rather limited in the U.S. because there aren’t many places like that there. Until recently, this hardy member of the weasel family had been recovering fairly well since being nearly decimated by predator poisoning campaigns in the 1930s. (They’re scavengers. What the heck?)
“This is a case, one of the few cases, where things are looking pretty rosy right now,” said Shawn Sartorius, lead wolverine biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). Unfortunately, the relative high may not last forever. “The future scenario is one that doesn’t look good,” Sartorious told KUOW.
There’s enough potential danger to the wolverines’ already small population, in fact, that on January 18 the FWS will start considering whether to protect the predators under the Endangered Species Act…
(read more: TakePart) (photos: Gerhard Kaeffer/Getty)