Wolverines Can Fight Grizzlies But They Can’t Fight Climate Change

It’s official: Wolverines, once found throughout the Rocky Mountains and in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, could soon be classified as an endangered species. Last Friday, U.S. wildlife officials proposed Endangered Species Act protections for wolverines, now-rare animals who, though growing up to some 40 pounds, can stand up to grizzly bears.

But global warming is threatening wolverines’ existence. One of the largest members of the weasel family, wolverines raise their kits in burrows far beneath snows that last until May. They have jaws that can crack other animals’ frozen bones and a double layer of insulating fur. Scientists have been monitoring wolverines in Montana’s Helena National Forest and found that they have “intricate biological mechanisms, including a thyroid that supercharges their metabolism,” notes the New York Times.

Unregulated trapping throughour the 19th century and poisoning campaigns wiped out wolverine populations across the 48 states by the 1930s. Only 250-300 survive in the contiguous U.S., in Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and Montana, where it is legal to trap them. Larger populations still exist in Alaska and Canada.

With global warming inexorably destroying wolverines’ wintry habitat, wildlife advocates have stepped up efforts to save them. Under the Bush Administration, Defenders of Wildlife unsuccessfully sought federal protections for them. A lawsuit brought by this group and also Arizona’s Center for Biological Diversity prompted the latest action, which could finally grant wolverines more than needed protected status.

Federal officials want to end the trapping of wolverines in Montana but will still allow human activities including snowmobiling and skiing, as well as the development of transportation corridors in the areas wolverines live in. Under a special rule proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service, a Colorado agency will be allowed to reintroduce some wolverines to the state’s mountains, with a view to them eventually moving into New Mexico and Wyoming.

If the proposal passes, the wolverine would join the polar bear as a species whose existence is threatened by climate change. Wildlife advocates hope making it official that wolverines are endangered species can help to push the Obama administration to call for regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, notes the Guardian.

Making it all too clear that wolverines are disappearing will, it is hoped, make the public aware of their plight. As the New York Times points out, when the actor Hugh Jackman played the Marvel Comics “Wolverine” character, he said he studied wolves — an entirely different species — to prepare for the role. Clearly we need to act fast and take serious action to save wolverines, before they become just some fantastic creature in a comic book.

Take Action: Tell the U.S. to give the wolverine endangered species protections.


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Photo from Thinkstock


Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Charles T.
Charles T.4 years ago

Mark D. It appears your are another PROPAGANDIST. Let me count the ways you are wrong and a propagandist.
1. A propagandist will always start off with an insult to kill the messenger.
2. You can't just say PHYSICS and not site one law of Physics. The Conservation of Matter and Energy do not support your claim.
3. It does not matter where the Carbon Dioxide came from. What matters regardless of how it was pumped into the atmosphere the temperature during those times does not support your hysterical claims on Man Made Climate Change.
4. You can't change the measurement of Carbon Dioxide from PPM to Tons. You change the measurement to incite an emotional response but does not really show or prove your point. Inciting an emotional response is not allowed in DEBATE it is called using a fallacy.
5. What simple Math are you referring too. There is only less than 400 Parts Per Million Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. There is 80% Nitrogen and 18% the rest is called trace gases and all combined and over 1% water vapor. If you removed all the Nitrogen, Oxygen and water vapor. Leaving the rest behind you would half a VACUUM. Similar to the space between your ears.
6. Your misconception of CO2 is a Greenhouse gas it does not seem to work well on Mars since it has an atmosphere of 95% Carbon Dioxide. Venus is not hot because of it's atmosphere but it's diurnal rotation.
7. The little over 1% water vapor in the atmosphere does more to retain heat. You need over 10%

Diane L.
Diane L4 years ago

Wolverines have now been found in my state (Washington) for the first time in decades. They were thought to be extinct in Washington, but one has been found, tranquilized and tagged. Remote cameras have been set up to record the presence of more, and there are signs the species is returning! Yeah! I've never seen one alive, and would love to. I find them fascinating.

Christine Jones
Christine J4 years ago

Perhaps the delightful Hugh Jackman can repay the favour to wolverines by doing some campaigning for them. From what I can gather he is a very ethical and socially responsible person.

Alice L.
Alice Mae L4 years ago

Magnificent animals! Fascinating creatures! Really, research them a bit, you'll get a new found respect for these tough little beasts! Unfortunately, If climate change doesn't get them, the people out there will! Visited out there (Oregon) in the early 90's, there was a Federal alert posted about the possible sighting of one on some of the ranchland. The BLM folks were not too excited about it. They laughed and said they'd handle it using the three S's. That means if you see the endangered animal in question, you #1 Shoot it #2 Shovel it under #3 Shut up about it. Great to know the Natural Heritage of our country is in such good hands.

Ram Reddy
Ram Reddy4 years ago


Blue B.
Blue B.4 years ago

help 'em, they are beautiful creature =(

Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Noted and signed

Waltraud U.
Waltraud U4 years ago

Thank you

Bruno Moreira
Bruno Moreira4 years ago