Wednesday, May 14, 2008

US lists polar bear as threatened species

US lists polar bear as threatened species

By H. JOSEF HEBERT

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The U.S Interior Department has decided to protect the polar bear as a threatened species because of the decline in Arctic sea ice from global warming, government officials told The Associated Press.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has scheduled a news conference Wednesday to announce the action. It comes a day before a court-imposed deadline on deciding whether the bear should be put under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act.

In deciding to list the bear as threatened, the department will cite studies by its own scientists that the decline of Arctic sea ice off Alaska and Canada could result in two-thirds of the polar bears disappearing by mid-century.

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