Feds reverse course on wolverines

August 12, 2014 by Matthew Brown

Federal wildlife officials are withdrawing proposed protections for the snow-loving wolverine—a reversal that highlights lingering uncertainties over what a warming climate means for some temperature-sensitive species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said that while is a reality, predictions about its localized impacts remain "ambiguous."

Ashe says that makes it impossible to determine whether wolverines are in danger of extinction.

The Associated Press obtained the decision ahead of Tuesday's formal announcement.

Wolverines, or "mountain devils," need deep snows to den. Federal officials last year said future temperature increases warranted increased protections for the animals.

As scientists grapple with limits on computer , the wolverine finding carries potential ramifications for other species— from Alaska's bearded seals to dozens of species of coral.

Explore further: US to reconsider species protection for wolverines

Related Stories

Study: Wolverines need refrigerators

July 12, 2012

Wolverines live in harsh conditions; they range over large areas of cold mountainous low-productivity habitat with persistent snow. The paper suggests wolverines take advantage of the crevices and boulders of the mountainous ...

US: Warming imperils wolverines (Update)

February 1, 2013

The tenacious wolverine, a snow-loving carnivore sometimes called the "mountain devil," is being added to the list of species threatened by climate change—a dubious distinction that puts it in the ranks of the polar bear ...

Utah wolverine sighting first documented in 30 years

July 3, 2014

State wildlife officials have captured images of a wolverine on the northern slope of the Uinta Mountains this year, the first documented sighting of the animal in Utah since a wolverine carcass was found in 1979.

Recommended for you

Mapping the protein universe

October 9, 2015

To understand how life works, figure out the proteins first. DNA is the architect of life, but proteins are the workhorses. After proteins are built using DNA blueprints, they are constantly at work breaking down and building ...

ZomBee Watch helps scientists track honeybee killer

October 9, 2015

While scientists have documented cases of tiny flies infesting honeybees, causing the bees to lurch and stagger around like zombies before they die, researchers don't know the scope of the problem.

Gene editing: Research spurs debate over promise vs. ethics

October 9, 2015

The hottest tool in biology has scientists using words like revolutionary as they describe the long-term potential: wiping out certain mosquitoes that carry malaria, treating genetic diseases like sickle-cell, preventing ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.