THREATENED SPECIES — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission last week unanimously approved the nation's first state management plan for sustaining the largest member of the weasel family.
The Management Plan for the Conservation of Wolverines in Idaho, developed by Idaho Department of Fish and Game, will guide state efforts to conserve and protect the wolverine over the next five years. Idaho is one of four western states where wolverines live. The others are Montana, Wyoming and Washington.
Wolverines, which grow to about 40 pounds, occupy cold, snowy mountainous regions of the U.S. In Idaho, the wolverine is classified as a protected nongame animal and Species of Greatest Conservation Need based on low densities and uncertain numbers.
Wolverines in the lower 48 states are currently proposed for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, in part because of projected loss of snow habitat from climate change. Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners approved the plan as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials deliberate a final listing decision on wolverines, anticipated in early August.
Fish and Game Commissioner Will Naillon of Challis represents the Salmon Region, a wolverine stronghold in Idaho. He sees the plan benefiting not only wolverines, but a broad spectrum of constituents.
“The development of this plan for wolverines, a protected nongame species, may help to avert a federal listing and subsequent land use restrictions. This plan benefits all land users, including sportsmen and women.” said Naillon.