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|Originally Posted: 1 Dec 2010|
Support Endangered Species Act Protections for Polar Bears
Please act now and ask Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to grant polar bears full Endangered Species Act protections before it's too late.
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INFORMATION / TALKING POINTS
Polar bears are in real trouble. These iconic creatures of the arctic are seeing their frozen habitat rapidly disappear as the planet warms.
In response to a recent lawsuit filed by ESC member organizations, a federal judge has ordered the Department of Interior to reconsider it's 2008 decision to deny polar bears the full protection of the Endangered Species Act.
Taking appropriate action today and listing polar bears as "endangered" will provide them with critical protections vital to their continued survival in their current habitats.
Subject: Provide Full ESA Protection to the Polar Bear
Dear Interior Secretary Salazar,
Climate change is drastically altering Arctic habitats and in so doing claiming the sea ice that polar bears depend on for survival. According to the 2009 White House report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, "about two-thirds of the world’s polar bears are projected to be gone by the middle of this century. It is projected that there will be no wild polar bears left in Alaska in 75 years."
As the polar bear depends on sea ice for hunting and foraging, any ice loss effects them immediately and adversely. NASA has found that perennial sea ice is melting at a rate of 9% per decade and could disappear entirely within the century.
Climate change effects polar bears by impacting their prey species as well. Less snow can result in inadequate snow cover for seals to construct birth lairs, reducing seal reproductivity and by extension, the ability of polar bears to sustain themselves and their cubs.
Warming temperatures also effect the ability of female polar bears to give birth to and raise their young. Bears build dens in dense snow pack to hibernate several months a year and to give birth to cubs. Warmer temperatures mean less snow in which to build dens and the possibility of den collapse or decreased insulative properties, resulting in lower litter survival rates. The cubs, who are born weighing only 1 pound, may quickly freeze to death or be crushed by collapsing ice.
A federal court has now ordered you to reconsider the definition of an endangered species as it applies to the polar bear. Please do right by the polar bear instead of continuing to defend the flawed policies of the Bush administration. We need you to live up to President Obama's promises to bring scientific integrity to agency decision-making. Please list the polar bear as endangered and grant this iconic, imperiled species the full protection that science and the law require.
Thank you for everything you do for animals!