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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided not to list wolverines in the Lower 48 states as threatened or endangered. The agency concluded that wolverines didn’t need Endangered Species Act protections in the Lower 48 since viable populations exist in Canada and Alaska. The FWS said the Lower 48 wolverine population “is not separated from wolverine populations in Canada, and is likely dependent on them to some degree for maintaining genetic diversity.” However, some wildlife advocates saw the decision as pawning off species protections to other countries. “This sets a new low in a long line of irresponsible, disturbing decisions made of late by the Bush administration,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, former director of the FWS in the Clinton administration. “The Endangered Species Act was designed to protect and preserve imperiled wildlife populations — not so that we can pass our responsibilities off onto our border neighbors.” Green groups said they’ll likely challenge the decision in court.

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