Conservationists sue feds over lack of wolverine protections

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Conservation groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to withhold Endangered Species Act protection from wolverines in the lower 48 states, where no more than 300 of the animals are thought to remain. The groups say wolverines face localized extinction as a result of climate change, habitat fragmentation and low genetic diversity. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Missoula, Montana, and contends that climate change is diminishing the mountain snowpack that wolverines rely on for their primary habitat. Wolverines in the lower 48 seek out areas with persistent spring snowpack to dig dens to birth and raise their young.