Small population size and resulting inbreeding depression are potential, though as-yet undocumented, threats to wolverines in the contiguous United States. There is good evidence that genetic diversity is lower in wolverines in the DPS than it is in the more contiguous habitat in Canada and Alaska. The significance of this lower genetic diversity to wolverine conservation is unknown. We do not discount the possibility that loss of genetic diversity could be negatively affecting wolverines now and continue to do so in the future. It is important to point out, however, that wolverine populations in the DPS area are thought to be the result of colonization events that have occurred since the 1930s. Such recent colonizations by relatively few individuals and subsequent population growth are likely to have resulted in founder effects, which could contribute to low genetic diversity. The effect of small population sizes and low genetic diversity may become more significant if populations become smaller and more isolated, as predicted due to climate changes.
Based on the best scientific and commercial information available we conclude that demographic stochasticity and loss of genetic diversity due to small effective population sizes, by itself, is not a threat to the wolverine DPS. However, by working in concert with the primary threat of habitat loss due to climate change, this may contribute to the cumulative effect of population declines. Therefore, we conclude that demographic stochasticity and loss of genetic diversity due to small effective population sizes is a threat to wolverines when considered cumulatively with habitat loss due to climate change (see discussion under Synergistic Interactions Between Threat Factors).Synergistic Interactions Between Threat Factors
We have evaluated individual threats to the distinct population segment of the North American Wolverine throughout its range in the contiguous United States. The wolverine DPS faces one primary threat that is likely to drive its conservation status in the future: habitat change and loss due to climate change. This factor alone is enough to determine that the species should be proposed for listing under the Act. Other factors, though not as severe or geographically comprehensive as the potential habitat effects from climate change may, when considered in the context of changes likely to occur due to climate change, become threats due to the cumulative effects they have on wolverine populations. For wolverines, the only such threat factors found in our analysis to have a basis of support as threats to wolverines were the effects of small subpopulation sizes and subpopulation isolation on wolverine genetic and demographic health, and the subsequent potential future influence of trapping.
As discussed in our analysis of the effects on wolverine habitat from climate change under Factor A, wolverine habitat in the contiguous United States is likely to become smaller overall, and remaining habitat is likely to be more fragmented and fragments more isolated from one another than they are today (McKelveyet al.2011, Figure 8). Given that wolverine subpopulations in the DPS are already so small, and movement between subpopulations so restricted, inbreeding has become likely (Kyle and Strobeck 2001, p. 343; Cegelskiet al.2003, pp. 2914-2915; Cegelskiet al.2006, p. 208; Schwartzet al.2007, p. 2176; Schwartzet al.2009, p. 3229). The longterm maintenance of wolverines in the DPS will require continued connectivity between subpopulations within the DPS, and with populations to the north in Canada. To the extent that wolverine habitat becomes more fragmented, and fragments become more isolated due habitat loss resulting from climate change, these factors will become more significant to wolverine conservation. The risk factor of small population size, including measures of effective population size and their consequent effects on maintenance of genetic diversity, is a threat to the North American wolverine DPS when considered cumulatively with habitat loss resulting from climate change.
Wolverine populations have been expanding in the DPS area since the early 20th century, when they were likely at or near zero (Aubryet al.2007, p. 2151). Most of this expansion has occurred under trapping regulations that allowed a higher level of trapping than currently occurs (see Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks 2007, p. 1). Therefore, it might be argued that wolverine trapping is not occurring at levels that would significantly affect conservation of the DPS. However, future habitat changes due to climate change are predicted to reduce habitat connectivity and extent. As described above, these changes are likely to exacerbate the problem of loss of genetic diversity and demographic stability caused by low effective population size and insufficient movement between populations, leading to inbreeding. Given these likely secondary effects of climate change, human-caused mortality due to harvest is likely to become more significant to the wolvereine population as connectivity needs increase and connectivity simultaneously becomes more difficult. As habitats becomesmaller and more isolated from one another, more wolverines will be needed to attempt to move between subpopulations to maintain population viability. Harvest currently removes up to five wolverines from the population every year, reducing the number of animals available for dispersal. In addition, incidental trapping of wolverines removes still more. For these reasons, we find that harvest and incidental trapping, when considered cumulatively with habitat loss resulting from climate change, are likely to become threats to the DPS due to the likely synergistic effects they may have on the population as habitat becomes smaller and more fragmented.
We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the wolverine DPS. We have identified threats to the contiguous United States population of the North American wolverine attributable to Factors A, B, and E. The primary threat to the DPS is from habitat and range loss due to climate warming (Factor A). Wolverines require habitats with near-arctic conditions wherever they occur. In the contiguous United States, wolverine habitat is restricted to high-elevation areas in the West. Wolverines are dependent on deep persistent snow cover for successful denning, and they concentrate their year-round activities in areas that maintain deep snow into spring and cool temperatures throughout summer. Wolverines in the contiguous United States exist as small and semi-isolated subpopulations in a larger metapopulation that requires regular dispersal of wolverines between habitat patches to maintain itself. These dispersers achieve both genetic enrichment and demographic support of recipient populations. Climate changes are predicted to reduce wolverine habitat and range by 31 percent over the next 30 years and 63 percent over the next 75 years, rendering remaining wolverine habitat significantly smaller and more fragmented. We anticipate that, by 2045, maintenance of the contiguous United States wolverine population in the currently occupied area may require human intervention to facilitate genetic exchange and possibly also to facilitate metapopulation dynamics by moving individuals between habitat patches if they are no longer accessed regularly by dispersers, or risk loss of the population.
Other threats are minor in comparison to the driving primary threat of climate change; however, cumulatively, they could become significant when working in concert with climate change if they further suppress an already stressed population. These secondary threats include harvest (including incidental harvest) (Factor B) and demographic stochasticity and loss of genetic diversity due to small effective population sizes (Factor E). All of these factors affect wolverines across their current range in the contiguous United States.
The Act defines an endangered species as any species that is “in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” and a threatened species as any species “that is likely to become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range within the foreseeable future.” We find that the contiguous United States wolverine DPS presently meets the definition of a threatened species due to the likelihood of habitat loss caused by climate change resulting in population decline leading to breakdown of metapopulation dynamics. Breakdown in metapopulation dynamics would make the DPS vulnerable to further loss of genetic diversity through inbreeding, and likely vulnerable to demographic endangerment as small subpopulations could no longer rely on demographic rescue from nearby populations. At that point wolverine populations would meet the definition of an endangered species under the Act. We base this determination on the immediacy, severity, and scope of the threats described above. Therefore, on the basis of the best available scientific and commercial information, we propose listing the contiguous United State DPS of the North American wolverine as a threatened species in accordance with sections 3(6) and 4(a)(1) of the Act.
Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may warrant listing if it meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The contiguous United States DPS of the North American wolverine proposed for listing in this rule is wide-ranging and the threats occur throughout its range. Therefore, we assessed the status of the DPS throughout its entire range. The threats to the survival of the species occur throughout the species' range and are not restricted to any particular significant portion of that range. Accordingly, our assessment and proposed determination applies to the DPS throughout its entire range.
Available Conservation Measures
Conservation measures provided to species listed as an endangered or threatened species under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain practices. Recognition through listing results in public awareness and conservation by Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies, private organizations, and individuals. The Act encourages cooperation with the States and requires that recovery actions be carried out for all listed species. The protection required by Federal agencies and the prohibitions against certain activities are discussed, in part, below.
The primary purpose of the Act is the conservation of endangered and threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The ultimate goal of such conservation efforts is the recovery of these listed species, so that they no longer need the protective measures of the Act. Subsection 4(f) of the Act requires the Service to develop and implement recovery plans for the conservation of endangered and threatened species. The recovery planning process involves the identification of actions that are necessary to halt or reverse the species' decline by addressing the threats to its survival and recovery. The goal of this process is to restore listed species to a point where they are secure, self-sustaining, and functioning components of their ecosystems.
Recovery planning includes the development of a recovery outline shortly after a species is listed, preparation of a draft and final recovery plan, and revisions to the plan as significant new information becomes available. The recovery outline guides the immediate implementation of urgent recovery actions and describes the process to be used to develop a recovery plan. The recovery plan identifies site-specific management actions that will achieve recovery of the species, measurable criteria that determine when a species may be downlisted or delisted, and methods for monitoring recovery progress. Recovery plans also establish a framework for agencies to coordinate their recovery efforts and provide estimates of the cost of implementing recovery tasks. Recovery teams (composed of species experts, Federal and State agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and stakeholders) are often established to develop recovery plans. The recovery outline is available on our Web site athttp://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolverine/and onhttp://www.regulations.govconcurrently with the publication of this proposed rule. When completed, the draft recovery plan and the final recovery plan will be available on our Web site or from our Montana Ecological Services Field Office (seeFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
Implementation of recovery actions generally requires the participation of a broad range of partners, including other Federal agencies, States, Tribal, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, and private landowners. Examples of recovery actions include habitat restoration (e.g.,restoration of native vegetation), research, captive propagation and reintroduction, and outreach and education. The recovery of many listed species cannot be accomplished solely on Federal lands because their range may occur primarily or solely on non-Federal lands. To achieve recovery of these species requires cooperative conservation efforts on private, State, and Tribal lands.
If this species is listed, funding for recovery actions will be available from a variety of sources, including Federal budgets, State programs, and cost share grants for nonfederal landowners, the academic community, and nongovernmental organizations. In addition, pursuant to section 6 of the Act, the States inhabited by wolverines or uninhabited states with suitable habitat would be eligible for Federal funds to implement management actions that promote the protection and recovery of wolverines. Information on our grant programs that are available to aid species recovery can be found at:http://www.fws.gov/grants.
Although the wolverine DPS is only proposed for listing under the Act at this time, please let us know if you are interested in participating in recovery efforts for this species. Additionally, we invite you to submit any new information on this species whenever it becomes available and any information you may have for recovery planning purposes (seeFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as endangered or threatened and with respect to its critical habitat, if any is designated. Regulations implementing this interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR part 402. Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with the Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a species proposed for listing or result in destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a species is listed subsequently, section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the species or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with the Service.
Federal agency actions within the species habitat that may require conference or consultation or both as described in the preceding paragraph include management and any other landscape altering activities on Federal lands in suitable wolverine habitat within the range of the species administered by the Department of Defense, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Forest Service; construction and management of gas pipeline and power line rights-of-way in suitable wolverine habitat by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; construction and maintenance of roads or highways by the Federal Highway Administration in suitable wolverine habitat; and permitting of infrastructure development in suitable wolverine habitat for recreation, oil and gas development, or residential development by the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or Department of Defense.
The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered wildlife. The prohibitions of section 9(a)(2) of the Act, codified at 50 CFR 17.21 for endangered wildlife, in part, make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take (includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect; or to attempt any of these), import, export, ship in interstate commerce in the course of commercial activity, or sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any listed species. Under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42-43; 16 U.S.C. 3371-3378), it is also illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such wildlife that has been taken illegally. Certain exceptions apply to agents of the Service and State conservation agencies.
We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities involving endangered and threatened wildlife species under certain circumstances. Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 17.22 for endangered species, and at 17.32 for threatened species. With regard to endangered wildlife, a permit must be issued for the following purposes: for scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation or survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with otherwise lawful activities.
It is our policy, as published in theFederal Registeron July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34272), to identify to the maximum extent practicable at the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a proposed listing on proposed and ongoing activities within the range of species proposed for listing. The following activities could potentially result in a violation of section 9 of the Act; this list is not comprehensive:
Unauthorized collecting, handling, possessing, selling, delivering, carrying, or transporting of the species, including import or export across State lines and international boundaries, except for properly documented antique specimens of these taxa at least 100 years old, as defined by section 10(h)(1) of the Act.
Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the Montana Ecological Services Field Office (seeFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Requests for copies of the regulations concerning listed animals and general inquiries regarding prohibitions and permits may be addressed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Permits, 134 Union Boulevard, Suite 650, Lakewood, CO 80228; Telephone 303-236-4265.
A determination to list the contiguous United States DPS of the North American wolverine as a threatened species under the Act, if we ultimately determine that listing is warranted, will not regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, it will reflect a determination that the DPS meets the definition of a threatened species under the Act, thereby establishing certain protections for them under the ESA. While we acknowledge that listing will not have a direct impact on the loss of deep, persistent, late spring snowpack or the reduction of greenhouse gases, we expect that it will indirectly enhance national and international cooperation and coordination of conservation efforts, enhance research programs, and encourage the development of mitigation measures that could help slow habitat loss and population declines. In addition, the development of a recovery plan will guide efforts intended to ensure the long-termsurvival and eventual recovery of the lower 48 states DPS of the wolverine.
Special Rule Under Section 4(d) of the Act
Whenever a species is listed as a threatened species under the Act, the Secretary may specify regulations that he deems necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of that species under the authorization of section 4(d) of the Act. These rules, commonly referred to as “special rules,” are found in part 17 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in §§ 17.40-17.48. This special rule for § 17.40 would prohibit take of any wolverine in the contiguous United States when associated with or related to trapping, hunting, shooting, collection, capturing, pursuing, wounding, killing, and trade. In this context, any activity where wolverines are attempted to be, or are intended to be, trapped, hunted, shot, captured, or collected, in the contiguous United States, will be prohibited. It will also be prohibited to incidentally trap, hunt, shoot, capture, pursue, or collect wolverines in the course of otherwise legal activities. All otherwise legal activities involving wolverines and their habitat that are conducted in accordance with applicable State, Federal, tribal, and local laws and regulations are not considered to be take under this regulation. This includes activities that occur in and may modify wolverine habitat such as those described below.
In this proposed listing rule, we identified several risk factors for the wolverine DPS that, in concert with climate change, may result in reduced habitat value for the species. These risk factors include human activities like dispersed recreation, land management activities by Federal agencies and private landowners, and infrastructure development. However, the scale at which these activities occur is relatively small compared to the average size of wolverine's home range, between 300 and 500 km2(186 and 310 mi2). For example, ski resorts constitute the largest developments in wolverine habitats. In Colorado, the state with the most ski resorts in the range of the wolverine, ski resort developments cover only 0.6 percent of available wolverine habitat (Colorado Division of Wildlife 2010, p. 16). Other developments are more localized still, such as mines and small infrastructure. It is possible that these forms of habitat alteration may affect individual wolverines, by causing the temporary movement of a few individuals within or outside of their home ranges during or shortly after construction. However, due to the small scale of the habitat alteration involved in these sorts of activities, we conclude that the overall impact of these activities is not significant to the conservation of the species. Dispersed recreation like snowmobiling and back country skiing, and warm season activities like backpacking and hunting, occur over larger scales; however, there is little evidence to suggest that these activities may affect wolverines significantly or have a significant effect on conservation of the DPS. Preliminary evidence suggests that wolverines can coexist amid high levels of dispersed motorized and nonmotorized use (Heinenmeyeret al.2012, entire), possibly shifting activity to avoid the most heavily used areas within their home ranges.
Transportation corridors and urban development in valley bottoms between patches of wolverine habitat may inhibit individual wolverines' movement between habitat patches; however, wolverines have made several long-distance movements in the recent past that indicates they are able to navigate current landscapes as they search for new home ranges. As described above, we have no evidence to suggest that current levels of transportation infrastructure development or residential development are a threat to the DPS or will become one in the future.
Land management activities (principally timber harvest, wildland firefighting, prescribed fire, and silviculture) can modify wolverine habitat, but this generalist species appears to be little affected by changes to the vegetative characteristics of its habitat. In addition, most wolverine habitat occurs at high elevations in rugged terrain that is not conducive to intensive forms of silviculture and timber harvest. Therefore, we anticipate that habitat modifications resulting from these types of land management activities would not significantly affect the conservation of the DPS, as we described above.
The proposed special rule under section 4(d) of the Act will provide for the possession and take of wolverines that are (1) legally held at the time of listing (2) legally imported pursuant to applicable Federal and state statutes, or (3) captively bred without a permit. The special rule will also allow the continuation of the export of captive-bred wolverines provided applicable Federal and state laws are followed, and provide for the transportation of wolverine skins in commerce within the United States. The export skins from wolverines documented as captive-bred will be permitted. Legally possessed skins may be transported in interstate trade without permits.
In this proposed rule, we include a prohibition against incidental take of wolverine in the course of legal trapping activities directed at other species. However, documented take of wolverine from incidental trapping has been low. In the 2008-2009 trapping season, two wolverines were incidentally killed in traps set for other species in Beaverhead and Granite Counties, Montana (Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks 2010, p. 2). In Idaho, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services trapped three wolverines (one each in 2004, 2005, and 2010) incidental to trapping wolves involved in livestock depredations. One of these sustained severe injuries and was euthanized. We are requesting the public, Federal agencies, and the affected State fish and wildlife agencies to submit public comments on this issue, including any State management plans related to trapping regulations and any measures within those plans that may avoid or minimize the risk of wolverine mortality from incidental trapping for other species.Critical Habitat
Section 3(5)(A) of the Act defines critical habitat as “(i) the specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time it is listed * * * on which are found those physical or biological features (I) Essential to the conservation of the species and (II) which may require special management considerations or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed * * * upon a determination by the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species.” Section 3(3) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1532(3)) also defines the terms “conserve,” “conserving,” and “conservation” to mean “to use and the use of all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this chapter are no longer necessary.”
Section 4(a)(3) of the Act and implementing regulations (50 CFR 424.12) require that, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, we designate critical habitat at the time a species is determined to be an endangered or threatened species. Critical habitat may only be designated within the jurisdiction of the United States, and may not be designated for jurisdictions outside of the United States (50 CFR 424(h)). Our regulations(50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that designation of critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of the following situations exist: (1) The species is threatened by taking or other activity and the identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the degree of threat to the species; or (2) such designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species. Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(2)) further state that critical habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following situations exists: (1) Information sufficient to perform required analysis of the impacts of the designation is lacking; or (2) the biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to permit identification of an area as critical habitat.
Delineation of critical habitat requires, within the geographical area occupied by the DPS of the North American wolverine in the contiguous United States, identification of the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species. In general terms, physical and biological features essential to the wolverine may include (1) Areas defined by persistent spring snowpack and (2) areas with avalanche debris (bottom of avalanche chutes where large trees, rocks, and other debris are swept) and talus slopes or boulder fields (debris piles of large rocks, trees, and branches) in which females can construct dens which provide security from large predators and buffer against wind and low temperatures.
Information regarding the wolverine's life functions and habitats associated with these functions has expanded greatly in recent years. We need additional time to assess the potential impact of a critical habitat designation, including whether there will be any benefit to wolverine from such a designation. A careful assessment of the habitats that may qualify for designation as critical habitat will require a thorough assessment in light of projected climate change and other threats. At this time, we also need more time to analyze the comprehensive data to identify specific areas appropriate for critical habitat designation. Accordingly, we find designation of critical habitat to be “not determinable” at this time.
In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in theFederal Registeron July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of peer review is to ensure that our listing determination and critical habitat designation are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We have invited these peer reviewers to comment during this public comment period.
We will consider all comments and information received during this comment period on this proposed rule during our preparation of a final determination. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this proposal.
Clarity of the Rule
Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to make this rule easier to understand including answers to questions such as the following: (1) Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? (2) Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that interferes with its clarity? (3) Does the format of the rule (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Would the rule be easier to understand if it were divided into more (but shorter) sections? (5) Is the description of the rule in theSUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATIONsection of the preamble helpful in understanding the rule? What else could we do to make the rule easier to understand?
Send a copy of any comments that concern how we could make this rule easier to understand to Office of Regulatory Affairs, Department of the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240. You also may email the comments to this address:Exsec@ios.goi.gov.
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.)
This rule does not contain any new collections of information that require approval by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule will not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or local governments, individuals, businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.
National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)
We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, need not be prepared in connection with listing a species as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in theFederal Registeron October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).
A complete list of all references cited in this proposed rule is available on the Internet athttp://www.regulations.govor upon request from the Field Supervisor, Montana Ecological Services Field Office (seeFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACTsection).
The primary authors of this proposed rule are the staff members of the Montana Ecological Services Field Office (seeFOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17
Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and Transportation.
Proposed Regulation Promulgation
Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:
16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; and 4201-4245, unless otherwise noted.
2. In § 17.11(h) add entries for “Wolverine, North American” to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in alphabetical order under Mammals to read as set forth below:
Endangered and threatened wildlife.
(h) * * *
|Species||Common name||Scientific name||Historic range||Vertebrate population where endangered or threatened||Status||When listed||Criticalhabitat||Special rules|
|Wolverine, North American||Gulo gulo luscus||U.S.A. (Alaska and northern contiguous States); Canada||Where found within contiguous U.S.A., except where listed as an experimental population||T||NA||17.40(a)|
|Wolverine, North American||Gulo gulo luscus||U.S.A. (Alaska and northern contiguous States); Canada||U.S.A. (specified portions of CO, NM, and WY; see 17.84(d))||XN||NA||17.84(d)|
3. Amend § 17.40 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
(a) Wolverine, North American (Gulo gulo luscus).
(1)Which populations of the North American wolverine are covered by this special rule?This rule covers the distribution of this species in the contiguous United States.
(2)What activities are prohibited?Any activity where wolverines are attempted to be, or are intended to be, trapped, hunted, shot, captured, or collected, in the contiguous United States, will be prohibited. It will also be prohibited to incidentally trap, hunt, shoot, capture, pursue, or collect wolverines in the course of otherwise legal activities.
(3)What activities are allowed?Incidental take of wolverines will not be a violation of section 9 of the Act, if it occurs from any other otherwise legal activities involving wolverines and their habitat that are conducted in accordance with applicable State, Federal, tribal, and local laws and regulations. Such activities occurring in wolverine habitat include:
(i) Dispersed recreation such as snowmobiling, skiing, backpacking, and hunting for other species;
(ii) Management activities by Federal agencies and private landowners such as timber harvest, wildland firefighting, prescribed fire, and silviculture;
(iii) Transportation corridor and urban development;
(v) Transportation and trade of legally possessed wolverine skins and skins from captive-bred wolverines within the United States.
Dated: January 16, 2013.
Rowan W. Gould,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-01478 Filed 2-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P