Posted: Nov 30, 2012 4:46 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Nov 30, 2012 4:46 PM
HELENA - A Helena judge has temporarily stopped Montana's wolverine trapping season just days before it was set to open.
District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock issued a temporary restraining order on Friday saying the number of wolverines in Montana is unclear, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has indicated that wolverines are warranted for listing as an endangered species.
A coalition of several groups, led by the Western Environmental Law Center, wants to ban wolverine trapping until the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determines if the wolverine will be placed on the federal list of threatened and endangered species.
Ken McDonald of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, said that Montana's quota of five wolverines is based on sound wildlife management science that doesn't put the state's wolverine population at risk.
In 2010, the USFWS determined that threats to the wolverine included climate change but declined to list it as an endangered or threatened species due to higher priorities.
At the time, USFWS suggested that the wolverine population is stable or expanding and that between 250-300 wolverines inhabit the northern Rocky Mountains.
McDonald said FWP will immediately begin to examine the restraining order and consider legal options, but for now trappers are prohibited from pursuing wolverines in Montana.