Give the Polar Bear a Fighting Chance

  • by: Sierra Club
  • recipient: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
In May 2008, the Department of the Interior listed the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. In October 2009, as required by the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its proposal to designate more than 128 million acres of Alaskan coastline and waters as critical habitat for the polar bear.

You can now submit your comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and let them know that the polar bear needs all the help it can get as it adapts to a warmer Arctic. The designation of this critical habitat is a good first step.

Tell the FWS to give the polar bear a fighting chance by stopping ongoing oil and gas development in the Arctic and taking steps to address climate change!
Attn: FWS-R7-ES-2009-2042

Dear [Decision Maker],

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken an admirable first step toward protecting the polar bear and helping it adapt to warming conditions in the Arctic.

Polar bears are specifically evolved for life in the harsh Arctic environment, a life that is completely dependent on sea-ice. Ice is as a hunting ground, a breeding ground, a migration path, and a denning ground. But due to climate change, the bear is rapidly losing this habitat, and it is crucial to afford it as much protection as possible.

This critical habitat designation will accomplish little if we fail to address climate change and reduce other stressors to the bear. It is the combination of these factors that has put the polar bear in the threatened condition that it is today.

The most urgent stressor is planned and ongoing oil and gas development in the Arctic. The areas proposed for designation include oil and gas exploration activities. If rigorously enforced, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act can ensure that these activities do not adversely affect the polar bear's critical habitat.

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