Polar Bears Not Endangered, Says Government

A bid to have the legal status of polar bears changed from “threatened” to “endangered” has failed. The Forest and Wildlife Service said they believe polar bears are only threatened because there are at least 20,000 of them, but they seem to contradict themselves by admitting, “The Service concluded that the incremental loss of sea ice habitat over time would limit the ability of polar bears to satisfy essential life-history requirements and would result in the bears likely being in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future.” (Source: USFWS)

What exactly are “essential life-history requirements”? Are they simply unwilling to even use plain language to communicate with the public that if polar bear habitat continues to be lost they will be in danger of going extinct? They seem to be playing word games to cover up the fact that polar bears are already endangered by the loss of sea ice, which they need to survive. Sea ice is melting due to climate change, but Alaska’s oil industry seems to have the upper hand in the battle to control natural resources there.

“The Obama administration delivered a lump of coal to the polar bear for Christmas. Once again President Obamaís Interior Department has sacrificed sound science for political expediency, and the polar bear will suffer as a result,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Centerís Climate Law Institute. She was also the lead author on the original lawsuit in 2005 which led to the polar bear getting reviewed for any legal protection, though it was stopped at “threatened” by the government. (Source: Climatesciencewatch.org) Polar bears were just designated “threatened” in 2008, only because of a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2005. In other words, if that non-profit organization hadn’t started the ball rolling, the government would likely not even have listed polar bears as threatened, even though they are dying because of habitat loss.

If the Forest and Wildlife Service refuses to protect the polar bear as endangered until it is nearly extinct, and admits that scenario is likely to take place, what is the point of† having the Endangered Species Act?

During the Bush Administration, an exemption was put into the Endangered Species Act which allows threats outside the polar bear’s habitat to not be disrupted, threats such as the release of mercury by industry, or climate change causing carbon emissions. The Obama administration has upheld this exemption, and Secretary of the Interior Salazaar has maintained the Bush administration’s attitude towards polar bears.

Recently scientific research stated again that reducing carbon emissions can save the polar bears, and not reducing carbon emissions will probably cause them to die off completely. “Scientists have been warning for some time that the melting of sea ice where polar bears hunt was jeopardizing their existence. In 2007 a group of federal scientists led by Steven C. Amstrup, an emeritus researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey, projected that if greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise as projected, only one-third of the world’s 22,000 polar bears might be left by 2050, and all of them could be gone by the end of the century.” (Source: Washingtonpost.com)

As previously reported on Care2, a seventeen year-old high school student understands these issues more clearly than the federal government, and has actually taken steps to reduce carbon emissions to save polar bears by creating a website where you can document your personal carbon output and work on reducing it.

Image Credit: Alan Wilson

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William C
William C5 months ago

I agree with Katherine H. ,thanks.

W. C
W. C5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Kat Head
Katherine H5 years ago

Anyone with a brain can see that they're endangered. I guess that proves what we always knew about politicians... none of them have brains.

Renae Thompson
Past Member 6 years ago

Way to ignore scientific evidence!!!

Nancy Black
Nancy Black6 years ago

This so reminds me when Reagan was President. He announced to the U.S. and the world, there was no homelessness or increase in homelessness in the United States. This was a time when middle class Americans were losing their jobs and living in their cars. The winter day he had the press conference, I was in Kansas City attending a convention. In the half mile distance from my hotel to the convention center, I saw several homeless people asking for money, sleeping on the sidewalk covered with newspaper, sitting on benchs. I talked to some--families, single women--they were looking for jobs and terrified they wouldn't be able to take care of their families or survive. Homelessness was in the United States regardless of what Ronnie said and the polar bear is in danger of becoming extinct regardless of what the government says now.

Deborah Litster
Deborah Litster6 years ago

what can we do i would really like to know people who aren't powerfully wealthy or big consumers like homeless and poor sick elderly people don't really matter so how do we stop these monsters from killing everything that gets in the way of their so called progress

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

I'm skeptical about that.

Gianna M.
Gianna Macias6 years ago

Endangered or not it is WRONG TO KILL THE BEARS.

Yvonne S.
Yvonne S6 years ago

They will be telling us next that it's safe to go out and play with traffic.

Hester Goedhart
Eternal G7 years ago

If only it could be the other way around; "Government critically endangered, says polar bear community"!
Humbug from sad little bastard liars!