State’s wolverine policy could be reconsidered
Two days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would not extend Endangered Species Protection to wolverines in the lower 48 states, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said it might reconvene meetings to study possible reintroduction of the carnivore to the state.
“CPW believes that state wildlife agencies within the wolverine range have developed conservation programs that are effective in maintaining wolverines within the lower 48 states, as evidenced by expansion in distribution of the species,” said the state agency in a statement issued Aug. 14.
The Fish and Wildlife Service also withdrew a proposed “nonessential-experimental” population designation for the southern Rockies, which includes Colorado.
Because of their isolation and solitary nature, wolverines are notoriously difficult to census but according to the Defenders of Wildlife, one of the groups pushing for ESA listing, there are an estimated 250-300 wolverines in the contiguous U.S.
According to Parks and Wildlife, it was 90 years between the time the last known wild wolverine in Colorado was recorded in 1919 until one was photographed in 2009 in Rocky Mountain National Park.
This particular male wolverine, named M56, was seen again in April 2012 but has not been located since in October, 2012.
There currently are no known wolverines in Colorado.
Biologists are uncertain as to whether the animal left the state or if the battery in the animal’s implanted transceiver has died.
Parks and Wildlife said it will reconvene meetings with conservation partners and stakeholders about the potential reintroduction of wolverines.
The Parks and Wildlife Commission and the State Legislature would have to approve any plans to reintroduce the wolverine in Colorado.