The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it will conduct a review of the status of the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou (*Rangifer tarandus caribou*) in response to a petition to remove the mammal from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection.
The Service received the petition to delist in May, 2012 from the Pacific Legal Foundation (representing Bonner County, Idaho), and the Idaho State Snowmobile Association.
The southern Selkirk Mountains woodland caribou was first protected under the ESA in 1983 as an endangered species, due to the threats posed by poaching, habitat loss due to timber harvest and wildfire, motor vehicle collisions and genetic problems through inbreeding. It occupies high-mountain habitat in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and northeastern Washington and southern British Columbia.
Brian T. Kelly, the Service’s Idaho State Supervisor, said, “This petition questions whether the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou warrants listing under ESA. Our initial review found that information in the petition was substantial enough to conduct an in-depth status review.”
The Service’s conclusion, called a “substantial 90-day finding,” does not mean that the Service has made a decision on the petition’s requested action. It does, however, indicate that a more thorough review of the information, or a “12-month status review,” is needed to be able to make a decision on whether delisting this population of caribou is warranted.
The Service encourages all interested parties to submit information pertinent to the petitioned action and the range-wide status review that will help ensure a scientifically sound decision regarding the animal’s listing status. All relevant scientific and commercial information received from the public, government agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties will be considered and addressed in the agency’s final listing determination.
Information is requested regarding biology, range, and population trends, including habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering; genetics and taxonomy; historical and current range, including distribution patterns; historical and current population levels, and current and projected trends; past and ongoing conservation measures for the animal, its habitat, or both; and DPS Policy considerations.
Submissions merely stating a position for or against the action without providing supporting data such as scientific journal articles, publications, or scientific or commercial information, will be noted in the Final Record, but will not be considered in the Service’s final decision.
The deadline for submitting information using the Federal eRulemaking Portal is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on January 18, 2013. After January 18, 2013, you must submit information directly to the *Division of Policy and Directives Management* (see address below). Please note that we might not be able to consider information that we receive after the above requested date.
Please submit information by one of the following methods:
Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2012-0097, which is the docket number for this action. Then click on the Search button. You may submit information for the status review by clicking on “Comment Now!
Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn:
FWS-R1-ES-2012-0097; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM: Arlington, VA 22203.
We will not accept emails or faxes. We will post all information we receive on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide.
Information and supporting documentation that we received and used in preparing this finding is available for review by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Boise, Idaho 83709; 208-378-5243.
Logo courtesy U.S Fish and Wildlife Service