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Polar bears listed

Overdue decision makes polar bears a "threatened species"

By
3:17pm, May 14, 2008

The polar bear made it onto the U.S. endangered species list May 14 with an unusual flurry of administrative guidance, rule making and grumbling.

The species will be classified as “threatened” because its Arctic ice habitat is melting, said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne at a press conference. He noted that last summer the Arctic ice cover shrank to the skimpiest remnant on record and that computer analyses predict even more drastic melting ahead.

Even though the polar bear population throughout the Arctic has grown from some 12,000 animals in the late 1960s to around 25,000 today, Kempthorne said, the U.S. Geological Survey last year projected that the vanishing ice would reduce the numbers of bears again. “They are likely to

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