Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
Oct. 9 — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering new protections for polar bears as climate change increasingly threatens their icy habitat in the Arctic.
The agency plans to review the polar bear's status to determine whether it should be designated as an endangered species, according to a Federal Register notice set to publish Oct. 13. Since 2008, polar bears have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act—a status they are likely to keep, according to the world's top polar bear conservation group.
Even though they may become endangered eventually, Geoff York, senior director of conservation at Polar Bears International, said “polar bears just aren’t there yet.”
“We may see a point in time where they indeed do qualify for endangered status,” York told Bloomberg BNA, but for now, he thinks they're appropriately classified as threatened.
Still, “we want to do everything we can to protect them,” he added.
Polar bears were the first species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act because of climate change, which is considered the biggest threat to their survival throughout parts of the U.S., Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia.
As the Arctic warms and sea ice melts, the bears are losing their habitat and losing access to seals, their main prey. But they may also be gaining a new meal in the process: dolphins lured north by warmer waters.
If summer sea-ice disappears completely, scientists predict about two-thirds of the world's current polar bear population will be gone by mid-century.
The FWS lacks regulatory bite when it comes to controlling the heat-trapping emissions that contribute to polar bears' habitat loss. So instead, the agency has focused its conservation efforts on issues that it can control, such as preventing over-hunting, protecting denning habit, and avoiding potential human-bear conflicts amid increased shipping, tourism and oil and gas development in the Arctic.
The public will have 60 days to comment on the polar bear's listing status.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)