Op-Ed Regarding USFWS' Wolverine Decision

Sep 9, 2014
Editor's Note: The Fish and Wildlife Service's recent decision not to list the wolverine as threatened under the Endangered Species Act has sent some animal rights groups into paroxysms of protest. The response has been so harsh the wildlife directors of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming felt it necessary to speak directly -in unity - in support of the USFWS decision. Today, these groups explain their support of the USFWS decision. Their reasoned response to the emotional protests is yet another example of how scientific research doesn't fit many animal rights agendas.

Dear Editor:



The states of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have noted the recent criticisms about U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's August 12 decision to not list wolverine in the western United States as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

For the record, our states opposed the Service's original recommendation to list wolverines based on our concerns about listing a species that is at its highest population level in the past 80-100 years-and still increasing. This fact supports the conclusion that state management works for wolverine. The states also expressed our concerns over the uncertainty inherent in using projected changes in climate over the next 40-80 years to speculate what might happen to wolverine habitat and wolverine populations.

The Service, however, did not reverse its original proposal due solely to state input. The Service chose instead to convene an independent panel of climate and wildlife scientists to review and discuss the science underlying the original listing proposal. Endangered Species Act listing is a complex arena that requires decisions based on imperfect data, and we applaud the Service's efforts to seek independent advice. It is likely the model used for wolverines, a model based on cooperation with the states, will have utility for future decisions. Ultimately, the Service made the right decision for wolverines for the right reasons. We thank the Service for its willingness to listen, to keep an open mind, and to utilize additional methods to fully explore science in its decision process.

Together we remain fully committed to the conservation of wolverines.





Virgil Moore, Director
Idaho Dept of Fish and Game
P O Box 25
Boise ID 83707

M. Jeff Hagener, Director
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
P O Box 200701
Helena MT 59620-0701

Scott Talbott, Director
Wyoming Game and Fish Dept
5400 Bishop Boulevard
Cheyenne WY 82006