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Wildlands Network refutes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wolverine decision

SEATTLE (December 14, 2020) — Today Wildlands Network joins a coalition of other organizations in challenging the decision of the Trump Administration’s Fish and Wildlife Service to refuse protections for rare and at-risk wolverines under the Endangered Species Act. This decision comes after the Service’s verdict in 2016 that protecting the wolverine was not required, a determination that was contrary to even the agency’s own scientists’ recommendation, and thoroughly rebuked by a federal judge. Four years later the Service has again disregarded the science, recycling its prior determination.

“Wildlands Network’s logo is a wolverine print, which is no accident. No other animal living in North America better captures the spirit of our commitment to protecting wild places where self-willed animals can live their lives unfettered by human activity” said Greg Costello, Wildlands Network’s Conservation Director. 

“The Fish and Wildlife Service’s continued politically-driven refusal to extend protections to wolverines under the Endangered Species Act is an abrogation of the Service’s lawful responsibility, and flies in the face of the purpose and intent of the Endangered Species Act” continued Costello, an environmental lawyer for over thirty years. 

Photo: Jamen Percy/Adobe Stock

Wolverines require isolated habitat far from human interference—without even the presence of backcountry skiers, let alone snowmobiles, which can trigger wolverines to relocate their dens in the dead of winter, putting their young kits at risk.  As predators and scavengers in the harsh alpine habitats that they call home, wolverines need large unfragmented habitats to find sufficient food.   

As changing climate reduces the high alpine snowfields that are critical to wolverines’ survival, the species is on the move looking for new homes. In the past decade scientists have witnessed the return of wolverines to the high alpine areas of the Cascade Mountain range in Washington, and possibly further south.  As such, wolverines are a symbol of core components of Wildlands Network’s mission: connecting wild landscapes with corridors for movement, and restoring our wild landscape and heritage.  

Greg Costello, Conservation Director, 541-554-8337,

Since 1991, Wildlands Network has been committed to reconnecting, restoring and rewilding North America for the benefit of all species. Our work is founded in science, driven by fieldwork and furthered through strategic policy and partnerships. We envision a North America where nature is undivided, and where people coexist in harmony with our native plants and animals. Visit to learn more. 

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