More than 500,000 people have commented on a proposal to list polar bears as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. America’s polar bears, found exclusively in Alaska, merit additional protection due to global warming.
Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in December proposed listing polar bears as threatened, defined in law as likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. The more drastic listing under the law is “endangered” — in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
The University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center reported last week that Arctic sea ice this winter just missed setting the record for fewest square miles covered since monitoring by satellite began in 1979. In recent years, winter sea ice has fallen by at least 600,000 square miles, double the size of Texas.