The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

Start watching
Professor T

Professor T (UK)

Start watching
SoCal Update

SoCal Update

Start watching
Us

Us

Start watching
Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
Line of Separation Key Art.

Line of Separation

Start watching
Artbound

Artbound

Start watching
Death in Paradise Series 10

Death in Paradise

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Feds Bail on Protecting Wolverines

Support Provided By
Wolverine_US_Department_of_Transportation_Jeffrey_C_Lewis_FPWC-thumb-600x396-79033
North American wolverine | Photo: Jeffrey C. Lewis / U.S. Department of Transportation

Overruling the strong recommendations of its own scientists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is withdrawing a proposal to list the North American wolverine, Gulo gulo, as Threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

USFWS scientists had urged the wolverine be listed due to the likely effect of climate change on the rare predatory weasel's reproductive habits. The animals depend on deep, persistent snow for their breeding, and an increasingly warm planet means that winter breeding habitat will likely become unsuitable for the wolverine.

Nonetheless, USFWS Director Dan Ashe announced Tuesday that the agency will back a call by one of the agency's regional directors to withdraw the listing proposal, citing "uncertainty" over the actual effect of disappearing snowfields on the wolverine's survival.

Female wolverines dig multi-chambered birthing dens in snowbanks at least five feet deep, and rely on those dens until May. Unless deep snow remains in the spot until that late in the year, the area is unsuitable for wolverine breeding.

Snow melt in the northern Rocky Mountains now happens an average of two weeks earlier than it did in 1960, and a similar or greater change in melt timing is expected over the next half century. In California's Sierra Nevada, where a small population of wolverines is thought to exist since a sighting in the Tahoe National Forest in 2008, snowmelt is peaking as much as 20 days earlier than in the mid-20th Century.

USFWS scientists had concluded, during the agency's evaluation of the wolverine's status, that the species absolutely depends on deep snow to reproduce -- and thus to survive as a species. But in a May 30 memo from USFWS Region 6 Regional Director Noreen Walsh that was leaked to environmental protection groups, Walsh ordered that the effort to list the wolverine be abandoned, claiming that climate models were insufficient to determine whether very specific sites in North America would become unsuitable breeding habitat for wolverines.

USFWS Director Ashe echoed Walsh's argument in a Tuesday interview with the Associated Press. "Climate change is a reality," Ashe told AP reporter Matthew Brown. "What we don't know with reliability is what does climate change mean for denning habitat that wolverines prefer."

Wildlife protection groups, which had blasted Walsh's order in June, are reacting similarly to USFWS' final withdrawal of the listing proposal.

"Absolute certainty has never been the standard when it comes to deciding whether or not to protect endangered species. That's like withholding medicine until a patient is taking their last breath," said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "These wolverines face a very real, clear and present danger from global warming. We know it, federal scientists know it. The only people denying that grim reality are those making this decision to call off protections for one of the rarest, most threatened mammals in the country."

Support Provided By
Read More
A light structure similar to scaffolds were used in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

How the Gleeful Aesthetic of L.A.’s 1984 Olympics Unified a Sprawling City

In 1984, Los Angeles exuded Olympic psychedelia, a gleeful '80s aesthetic which underlined the complementary power of sport, culture and art. It would also revitalize a bedraggled Olympic movement.
The City of Huntington Park sign in front of City Hall hosts a welcome message for residents passing by.

Hefty Contracts for Campaign Contributors in Huntington Park

An examination of public records from 2018 and 2020 confirmed that several companies contracted by the city of Huntington Park donated gifts and campaign contributions to council members during that time. The investigation raises questions about whether council members are truly looking out for the best interests of the public when creating policies and making decisions.
0722021_Lancaster_PU_Sized_10.jpg

Thieves Are Stealing California’s Scarce Water. Where’s It Going? Illegal Marijuana Farms

As drought grips most of California, water thefts have increased to record levels. Thieves tap into hydrants, pump water from rivers and break into remote water stations and tanks.