BILLINGS, Mont. — U.S. wildlife officials are withdrawing proposed protections for the snow-loving wolverine after determining the rare and elusive predator is not as threatened by climate change as once thought.
Details on the decision were obtained by The Associated Press in advance of an announcement Thursday.
A federal judge four years ago had blocked an attempt to withdraw protections that were first proposed in 2010, pointing to evidence from government scientists that wolverines were “squarely in the path of climate change.”
But years of additional research suggest the animals’ prevalence is expanding, not contracting, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said. And they predict that enough snow will persist at high elevations for wolverines to den in mountain snowfields each spring despite warming temperatures.
“Wolverines have come back down from Canada and they are repopulating these areas in the Lower 48 that they historically occupied,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife