Large walrus on the ice, Alaska, Bering Sea. Photograph by Captain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps. License: Public Domain.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska— Today, responding to a court-ordered deadline, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released long-overdue reports documenting the status of polar bears and Pacific walrus in Alaska. The reports confirm that polar bears in Alaska are declining and that Pacific walrus are under threat. Both species are imperiled due to the loss of their sea-ice habitat due to global warming, oil and gas development, and unsustainable harvest.

“Polar bears and walrus are under severe threat, and unless we act rapidly to reduce greenhouse pollution and protect their habitat from oil development, we stand to lose both of these icons of the Arctic,” said Brendan Cumming, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Today’s reports, issued pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, summarize information on population abundance and trends of polar bears and walrus, threats to the species, and include calculations of human-caused mortality and whether that mortality is sustainable. …

“These reports publicly confirm what scientists have known for several years: Polar bear and walrus populations in Alaska are in trouble,” added Cummings. “And even if the population numbers are not precise, we know that without their sea-ice habitat they are likely doomed.” …

Polar Bear, Walrus Populations in Trouble: Federal Studies Show Tenuous Future for Arctic Icons

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