US sets deadline for wolverines protection decision

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FILE – This on Feb. 27, 2016, file photo provided by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, from a remote camera set by biologist Chris Stermer, shows a mountain wolverine in the Tahoe National Forest near Truckee, Calif., a rare sighting of the predator in the state. U.S. wildlife officials have agreed to decide by the end of August 2020, whether climate change and other threats are pushing the rare wolverine closer to extinction. Government attorneys and conservation groups that sued to force a decision filed court documents Thursday, July 2, settling the lawsuit and agreeing to the deadline. (Chris Stermer/California Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP, File)

BILLINGS, Mont. — U.S. wildlife officials have agreed to decide by the end of August whether climate change and other threats are pushing the rare wolverine closer to extinction.

Government attorneys and conservation groups that sued to force a decision filed court documents Thursday settling the lawsuit and agreeing to the deadline. That comes more than four years after a federal judge chastised government officials for rejecting the views of many of its own scientists when it decided against protecting wolverines.

Also known as “mountain devils,” wolverines need deep snows to den. Scientists warn such habitat could shrink as the Earth heats up.

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