For Immediate Release, April 25, 2008
Contact: Kassie Siegel, (760) 366-2232 x 302 or cell (951) 961-7972, firstname.lastname@example.org
Statement of the Center for Biological Diversity on
Canadian Government’s Polar Bear Protection Recommendation
Today a Canadian panel recommended that the Canadian federal government list the polar bear as a “Species of Special Concern” under the Canadian Species at Risk Act, based on an assessment that ignored global warming when making key projections. The “Species of Special Concern” is a less protective designation than the “threatened” or “endangered” categories under Canadian law. Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, a species facing a population decline of 30 percent or more within three generations must be listed as “threatened,” while a species facing a population decline of 50 percent or more within three generations must be listed as “endangered.” In 2005, the Polar Bear Specialist Group concluded that global warming will cause polar bears to decline by more than 30 percent within three generations, and in 2007, following a more detailed study, the U.S. Geological Service concluded that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will be gone by mid-century if greenhouse gas emissions trends continue. The Canadian government review states that its projections “do not account for the possible effects of climate change.”
“The Canadian government, like the Bush administration, should stop playing politics with the polar bear and give this species the protection it needs,” said Kassie Siegel, climate program director at the Center for Biological Diversity and lead author of the 2005 petition to list the polar bear under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. “The polar bear is clearly endangered by global warming, and unfortunately, no amount of denying or downplaying the problem will make it go away. The polar bear must be protected as an endangered species both in Canada and the United States.”
A decision on listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act is long overdue. A court hearing in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, NRDC, and Greenpeace to compel a final decision will be held at 2:00 pm on May 8, 2008, in U.S. District Court in Oakland, California, before the Honorable Judge Claudia Wilkin.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 40,000 members dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. www.biologicaldiversity.org
The Canadian Species at Risk Act assessment is available at http://www.cosewic.gc.ca/rpts/Detailed_Species_Assessments_e.html.