Rosa Meehan, Supervisor
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Marine Mammals Management Office
1011 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99503
Attn: Polar Bear Finding
As a supporter of Defenders of Wildlife and someone concerned about global climate change, I am writing today to voice my strong support for the proposal to list polar bears as "Threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has just published a series of reports predicting that melting Arctic sea ice due to global warming could result in polar bear population declines of two-thirds or more in the next 50 years.
In light of these dire – and in the USGS's own words, conservative – predictions, I strongly urge you to grant Endangered Species Act protections to polar bears immediately.
In Alaska, we already see the effects of climate change, with the birth and survival rates of our polar bears plummeting as ice packs shrink and the bears' hunting opportunities become more limited.
The USGS's research underscores what we already know – global warming is real and is taking a devastating toll on polar bears. In order to save these magnificent animals, listing polar bears as threatened must be coupled with concrete steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to address the root cause of global warming. In addition, critical habitat for polar bears must be identified and protected. Essential protections against harmful oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Bristol Bay and other crucial habitat areas must be provided to ensure the survival of polar bears.
Thank you for considering my comments.