WASHINGTON, December 28, 2006 - The following is a statement by World Wildlife Fund's vice president Bill Eichbaum on the release of information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to propose listing the polar bear as "threatened":
"World Wildlife Fund applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to propose listing the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. WWF had supported the petition to classify the polar bear as threatened earlier this year, based on a large volume of compelling information about significant changes in the polar bear's Arctic sea ice habitat.
Polar bears currently face an uncertain future. Climate change is causing the decrease of Arctic sea ice on which polar bears hunt their prey, feed, mate and frequently den. Current climate projections indicate that the polar bear's ocean habitat and habitat for their prey are imperiled by these warming trends.
WWF is using its global reach and scientific expertise in the field to examine the effects of climate change and advocate for solutions that will help preserve the polar bears, and wild Arctic places for future generations. Listing the polar bear as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act will provide additional tools and a level of protection for this icon of the north."
For more information:
- Read WWF's comments to the USFWS in March, 2006, recommending the listing of the polar bear as "threatened.": http://www.worldwildlife.org/wildplaces/bs
- Polar bears and WWF's work to protect them: http://worldwildlife.org/polarbears
- WWF's work in the Bering Sea ecoregion and why it is special: http://worldwildlife.org/wildplaces/bs
- WWF's Arctic program: http://www.panda.org/arctic