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Federal official: warming climate as a threat to snow-loving wolverine is "speculation"

A top federal wildlife official says there's too much uncertainty about climate change to prove it threatens the snow-loving wolverine — overruling agency scientists who warned of impending habitat loss.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Noreen Walsh said there's no doubt that the wolverine's high-mountain habitat is getting warmer.

But she said any assumptions about how that will change snowfall patterns are based on "speculation."

Her comments were contained in a May 30 memo obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Chris Tollefson confirmed the memo is from Walsh.

Federal biologists last year proposed Endangered Species Act protections for an estimated 250-300 wolverines in the Lower 48 states. Larger populations persist in Alaska and Canada.

A final decision is due in early August.

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