Interior lists polar bear as protected species

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Wednesday announced his decision to list the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

Kempthorne based his decision on the degradation of the polar bear habitat in the Arctic. Unless he took action, he said the animals were likely to become endangered due to dwindling sea ice.

Guidance from Interior Department agencies indicated that Alaska Natives were consulted about the listing. Alaska Natives wanted to ensure they could hunt the polar bear, an activity that officials said would continue to be protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act.

Get the Story:
Polar Bear Is Named 'Threatened' Species (The Washington Post 5/15)
Polar Bear Is Made a Protected Species (The New York Times 5/15)

Relevant Documents:
Press Release | Kempthorne's Remarks | Final Rule | Interim Final Rule | MOU with Canada | Fact Sheet | Guidance from USGS | Guidance from FWS

An Opinion:
Editorial: The Threatened Polar Bear (The Washington Post 5/15)