Groups Sue to Obtain Protection for Wolverines

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – A federal agency’s refusal to protect wolverines under the Endangered Species Act is being challenged in court.

Groups that filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Missoula say politics overrode science in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s refusal to protect wolverines, a member of the weasel family. Defenders of Wildlife is among the groups suing.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has estimated the U.S. wolverine population, outside of Alaska, at about 500 animals. Wolverines inhabit Montana, Idaho, Washington and Wyoming.

The suit names agency director Dale Hall and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.