WASHINGTON (CN) – After 14 years of legal battles with a host of environmental activist groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to conduct a full status review of the North American wolverine to determine if it warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act.
In response to petitions filed in 1994, 2000 and 2003, the agency found that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a full status review of the wolverine. In 2006, after the Defenders of Wildlife and others filed suit alleging that the agency used the wrong standards to assess the July 2000 wolverine petition, the U.S. District Court, Montana District ordered the agency to make a 12-month finding for the wolverine.
In March, 2008, the agency published the court ordered finding determining that the wolverine, in the contiguous United States, did not constitute a distinct population segment and was not an entity that could be listed under the Endangered Species Act.
In September 2008, the Defenders of Wildlife again filed suit challenging the agency’s application of the rules on distinct population segments. In March 2009 the agency settled that suit by agreeing to begin a new 12-month status review. It now requests data regarding the life cycle, habitat, distribution and reproductive activities of the North American wolverine.