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Polar bears are now endangered species

Polar_bears_4 Polar bears, which have become a symbol in debate over global warming, today were added to the federal list of endangered species, the Times' Ken Weiss reports:

The Bush administration today designated the polar bear as threatened with extinction, making the big arctic bear, whose fate clings to shrinking sea ice, the first creature added to the endangered species list primarily because of global warming.

The designation invokes federal protections under the Endangered Species Act, the nation's most powerful environmental law that requires designation of critical habitat to be protected as well as forming a strategy to assist the bear population's recovery.

The decision came only after a U.S. District Court in Oakland forced the Bush administration's hand by imposing a May 15 deadline for the decision that was supposed to have been completed by Jan. 9.

It was the first time in more than two years that the Interior Department extended protections to another species under the Endangered Species Act -- the longest hiatus of new listings by the department since President Richard Nixon signed the law in 1973.

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, who announced the decision today, says in a news release that "this listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting. Any real solution requires action by all major economies for it to be effective."

That seems to mean that the debate over listing polar bears and how protecting them might translate into policies to stem climate change is far from over. Nor are requests for even further protection.

As Weiss reports, U.S. conservation groups have already been urging the Interior Department to give the polar bear a higher designation, one of "endangered with extinction," rather than merely "threatened."

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: Jonathan Hayward/AP

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We need to move the polar bears to a man made enviroment before they are all gone instead of watching them suffer, starve and die off!!!


"Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt;" The Washington Post; November 2, 1922 (yes, 1922), p. 2:

"The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway.

"Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.

"Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds."

Stacey - we need to let them live and or die regardless of what we do. There are 25,000+ of these animals - doesn't sound endangered to me. This action by the gov't is a waste of time/money and threatens MY life and yours!

All we ever care about is US. Maybe once in a while we should maybe have compassion for other living things like the polar bear. Its a crazy concept I know but maybe we should give it a chance. I think we have a definite responsibility for other animals because animals cant voice their selfish opinions like bean. It would be a damn shame if we didnt even try to save them before their extinct and it would be a bigger shame to tell my grandkids that we're the reason why it happend.


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