Thursday, August 21, 2014

Statement from the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Supporting the USFWS’ Wolverine Decision

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to officially withdraw its 2013 recommendations to list the wolverine as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Association believes that the Service did responsibly consider the “best available science” concerning wolverine management, which could not reasonably predict the impact climate change would have on wolverine populations using today’s climate models.  

State fish and wildlife agencies recognize that a changing climate is one of the many stressors currently impacting populations of fish and wildlife and the habitats upon which they depend. However, future ESA listings must meet the statutory definitions of either a “threatened species” or an “endangered species” to receive protection under the ESA. Any premature listings—whether based on uncertain results from climate change modeling or other circumstances—sets a bad precedent for conservation.

Association President Dan Forster thanks the USFWS for working with the states that developed the Wolverine Conservation Plan to ensure the specie’s long-term viability. Pro-active conservation programs to keep species off the list are more successful and considerably less costly to American taxpayers than the “emergency room” approach that goes into effect under the ESA.

AFWA encourages the Service to continue to work closely with its state agency partners in the work ahead to conserve the great diversity of our nation’s fish and wildlife species, including the wolverine.