The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's recent decision to withdraw its proposal to list the wolverine as an endangered species indicates two things. First, it shows the federal agency can listen to state biologists. Second, it shows that to call an animal endangered, one must know more about how close to extinction the species may be.
To the first point, Fish and Wildlife's decision came after a key meeting of state wildlife biologists in Salt Lake City last fall. At the meeting, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies came together on a request to delay listing the wolverine, in part because its population may be bigger now than at any point since Europeans arrived in North America about 500 years ago. The agencies also noted that the effect on wolverines from climate change a growing threat to many species has not been determined, and the feds agreed.
Which brings up the second point: The wolverine is a rare and exceedingly elusive creature that sticks to high mountain snowfields. As a result, less field work (tracking collars, etc) has been done by biologists than with other species, and more data is needed. Withdrawing the proposed listing does not prevent the feds from bringing it back if the data supports it.