February 7, 2013

Wolverine proposed for listing

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

Earlier this week, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing a distinct population segment of the North American wolverine as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.  The Service contends that the proposed listing should not bode ill for recreational and productive uses of land where the wolverine is located, because the agency plans to issue a special rule that would exempt many such activities from liability.  The proposed listing raises a legal issue that PLF has been interested in for some time, namely, whether the ESA authorizes the listing of distinct population segments of subspecies.  The North American wolverine is its own subspecies, and the Service proposes to list only those wolverines within the contiguous United States.  PLF has challenged the listing of the orca whale on this basis.  Comments on the proposal are due by March 21, 2013.

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