It was just over a month ago that I last wrote about the fate of the polar bears. The US Fish and Wildlife Service had just announced that they needed more time to determine whether the beautiful creatures should be put on the endangered species list. Conservationists were up in arms, and many were pointing to Bush’s desire to sell off parts of the Alaskan coast for oil and gas exploration as the reason the animals were being risked.
Today though, the British Times Online is reporting that the American government is to add the polar bear to its list of endangered species.
The US Interior Department has made an announcement saying that the decision to put polar bears on the list will come “sooner rather than later.”
As mentioned above, conservationists have linked the delay in protecting the bears to oil and gas exploration hopes in the Alaskan region. Chris Tollefson, speaking for the US government, said that the timing between the two events – protecting the bears and plans to sell off exploration rights – were simply coincidental. “They have moved on parallel tracks, but both driven by the complexity of the science involved,” he said.
Andrew Wetzler, of the US National Resources Defense Council, said that it would be a rare acknowledgement of damage caused by global warming from the White House.
However, there are still “reservations,” according to Tollefson, referring to Alaska’s Republican governor, Sarah Palin, who says polar bears could still be protected while still expanding the oil business. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Photo Courtesy of mape_s via Flickr