Wolverines need deep snowpack to build their nests and rear their young. But climate models project a rise in temperatures across the wolverine's current habitat in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, and Oregon.
Eight conservation groups concerned about the wolverine's dwindling habitat in the face of rising temperatures sued the government.
The groups say the estimated 300 remaining wolverines in the lower 48 states should be on the endangered species list. They say that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's reversal of an earlier proposal to list the wolverine as endangered goes against current scientific evidence.
Noah Greenwald from the Center for Biological Diversity says the wolverine stands to lose as much as two-thirds of its habitat over the next fifty years.
“You know the wolverine is just a symbol of feisty predator that’s willing to take on things that are much bigger than itself," Greenwald said, "but in this case it simply can’t stand up to climate change.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that despite climate warming, the wolverine has steadily recovered after decades of being hunted, trapped, and poisoned. Greenwald says he expects a decision from the court within the next year.