Tag: Remain

New Lawsuit Aims To Ensure That The USFWS Provide Protection For The Last 300 Wolverines That Remain In The Contiguous United States

WildEarth Guardians, and a coalition of wildlife advocates, filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to deny protections for imperiled wolverines under the Endangered Species Act. This is the second time that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prioritized politics over science for wolverines, which number only an estimated 300 in the contiguous United States.

The groups in the lawsuit defeated the Service in court in 2016, after the Service abruptly withdrew its proposed rule to list the wolverine population in the lower 48 states as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The court ordered the agency back to the drawing board with a directive to apply the best science in evaluating the protection needed for the wolverine. Four years later, the Service returned with the same decision to deny wolverine protective status, despite no new scientific support for such a determination.

The recent complaint aims to ensure the Service utilizes the best available science when making listing decisions, and to provide wolverines the protective status they desperately need and deserve.

“In the face of a clear biodiversity crisis and mass extinction event, imperiled species need swift and coordinated federal government protection now more than ever,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, in a statement. “Wolverines, like so many other persecuted carnivores, remain imperiled according to clear scientific evidence. Relying upon piecemeal management by state wildlife agencies for wolverine survival, because of political pressure, is insufficient for recovery and contrary to both science and the law.”

In April 2016, a federal judge sided with conservation groups, agreeing that the Service’s August 2014 decision to not list wolverines as threatened was “arbitrary and capricious” and contrary to scientific literature. In a scathing opinion, the court clearly stated that “no greater level of certainty is needed to see the writing on the wall for this species standing squarely in the path of global climate change. It has taken us twenty years to get to this point. It is the court’s view that if there is one thing required of the Service under the ESA, it is to take action at the earliest possible, defensible point in time to protect against the loss of biodiversity within our reach as a nation. For the wolverine, that time is now.” 

“This is yet another chapter in this administration’s war on science,” said Matthew Bishop, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, and legal counsel for the coalition. “Public records reveal that the Service decided not to protect wolverines from day one, and then worked backwards to figure out how to make the decision stick. It’s really unfortunate.”

Before its decisions to deny wolverines endangered species protections, the Service identified climate change, in conjunction with small population size, as the primary threat to the species’ existence in the contiguous United States.

The wolverine relies on snow year-round. With its large paws, it can travel easily over snow. Snow also works as a “freezer” that permits the wolverine to store and scavenge food. One study found that 98% of all wolverine dens are in places with persistent snowpack.

Published, peer-reviewed research, Society for Conservation Biologyshows that the majority of experts who reviewed the decision, and the Service’s own biologists all verified this finding.

“This is something we were really hoping to avoid after the court’s 2016 decision,” said Bishop. “I was cautiously optimistic that the Service would get it right this time and we would be focusing our time and energy on developing a conservation strategy, recovery plan, critical habitat, and possibly reintroduction efforts for wolverines. Instead, we’re back in court challenging an agency that continues to put politics over science.”

The coalition filing the lawsuit includes: WildEarth Guardians, Friends of the Bitterroot, Friends of the Wild Swan, Swan View Coalition, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, George Wuerthner, Footloose Montana, Native Ecosystems Council, Wildlands Network, Helena Hunters and Anglers Association. The coalition is represented by the Western Environmental Law Center.

The post New Lawsuit Aims To Ensure That The USFWS Provide Protection For The Last 300 Wolverines That Remain In The Contiguous United States appeared first on World Animal News.

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Tragically, Only 9 Critically Endangered Red Wolves Remain In The Wild; A New Lawsuit Is Pushing For A Recovery Plan To Save Them

Photo by B. Bartel, USFWS

According to a legal agreement reached as a result of a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must update its plan for saving critically endangered red wolves in the next two and a half years. Red wolves, which are native to the southeastern United States, have sadly dwindled to only nine known individuals in the wild, living in the eastern part of North Carolina.

“With only nine wolves known to remain in the wild, the red wolf desperately needed this good news,” Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center, said in a statement. “The science shows that the red wolf can be saved, and I am hopeful that a new recovery plan will put the species back on the road to recovery.”

The agreement, approved on October 2nd by a North Carolina federal court, requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to complete a final revised recovery plan for red wolves by February 28, 2023.

This victory is the result of the Center’s 2019 lawsuit, which challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service’s failure to revise the outdated recovery plan from 1990. The Center filed its suit after the Service failed to follow through on its commitment to update the decades-old recovery plan by the end of 2018.

The Endangered Species Act requires that the agency prepare plans that serve as roadmaps to species recovery, identifying measures needed to ensure conservation and survival, such as reintroductions.

Last year, the Center released a report identifying five potential reintroduction sites that together could support nearly 500 breeding pairs of red wolves. All the sites are on public lands in: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service has not taken steps to reintroduce red wolves elsewhere and has stopped taking action, such as widespread sterilization of coyotes to prevent hybrid animals from harming the gene pool which is necessary to conserve the remaining wild population.

“Time is running out to save red wolves and government foot-dragging has only made the problem worse,” continued Adkins. “It’s frustrating that we’ve had to sue time and again to get action. Hopefully this win finally gets these vulnerable wolves the help they need.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to release a draft revised red wolf recovery plan next year. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft plan.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Tragically, Only 9 Critically Endangered Red Wolves Remain In The Wild; A New Lawsuit Is Pushing For A Recovery Plan To Save Them appeared first on World Animal News.

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