"last week's decision by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to recommend that the majestic polar bear be listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The closer you inspect this decision, however, the more it looks like the triumph of politics over science.
"Apparently so, because there are in fact more polar bears in the world now than there were 40 years ago, as the nearby chart shows."
"It also turns out that most of the alarm over the polar bear's future stems from a single, peer-reviewed study, which found that the bear population had declined by some 250, or 25%, in Western Hudson Bay in the last decade. But the polar bear's range is far more extensive than Hudson Bay. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain concluded that the ice bear populations "may now be near historic highs.""
BH From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 525 posts, RR: 1 Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1099 times:
Looks like they are not saying that they are putting them on the list because they are dying, but that they are greatly concerned about the future of their habitat relating to warming trends and pollution. Hence the "Threatened" label instead of "Endangered".
Govt. Sees Polar Bears As 'Threatened'
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Dec 27, 4:53 PM (ET)
By JOHN HEILPRIN
WASHINGTON (AP) - Polar bears are in jeopardy and need stronger government protection because of melting Arctic sea ice related to global warming, the Bush administration said Wednesday.
Pollution and overhunting also threaten their existence. Greenland and Norway have the most polar bears, while a quarter of them live mainly in Alaska and travel to Canada and Russia.
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Wednesday proposed listing polar bears as a "threatened" species on the government list of imperiled species. The "endangered" category is reserved for species more likely to become extinct.
"Polar bears are one of nature's ultimate survivors, able to live and thrive in one of the world's harshest environments," Kempthorne said. "But we are concerned the polar bear's habitat may literally be melting."