Target: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director, Noreen Walsh
Goal: Protect the endangered wolverine from climate change
A top federal wildlife official claims there’s too much uncertainty about climate change to prove that it threatens the wolverine despite warnings from scientists of impending habitat loss for the animal. While wolverines weigh up to 40 pounds and can stand up to many of their predators, they will not be able to handle declines in deep mountain snow, according to experts.
Female wolverines need the deep snows to make birthing dens and raise their young. Stable snow that is deeper than 1.5 meters is the approximate requirement for female birthing dens since the deep, impacted snow provides security for the new kits and offsets cold winter temperatures.
Last year, federal biologists proposed protections for an estimated 300 wolverines in the lower 48 states. At that time, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Noreen Walsh had been certain that climate change would adversely affect the wolverine’s habitat, dealing the species a terrible blow. Now claiming the opposite, it is not clear what Walsh believes to be true. Although there’s little doubt that the wolverine’s habitat is getting warmer, Walsh claims that assuming climbing temperatures will change snowfall patterns is only speculation. Walsh and her staff are currently withdrawing a proposal to protect the species under the Endangered Species Act.
The federal government has already declared that global warming imperils other species, including polar bears and multiple types of seals. Many more species are in trouble as a result of human-caused climate change and are being driven toward extinction. There is no sense in delaying action to protect animals that may be affected. Blindly ignoring scientific evidence or refusing to accept findings is taking a step backwards in the safeguarding of our wildlife and ecological unit. Sign this petition to urge Director Walsh to go forward with the proposal to classify this endangered species and grant them much-needed protections under the law.
Dear Director Walsh,
I am saddened to find that although you first acknowledged the scientific evidence suggesting that warming climate would greatly reduce the wolverine’s snowpack habitat, you have now come to the opposite conclusion, suggesting that there is not enough evidence to make any conclusions about the species’ risk.
Under the Bush administration, wolverines were denied protection twice, and under the Obama administration, action has been delayed by prioritizing other animals and plants. Please reconsider the evidence provided by highly qualified scientists and make a decision that will protect the wolverine species from a preventable decline. Please go forward with your original proposal to classify wolverines as an endangered species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Zefram via Wikimedia Commons