Green Guide

The Latest: Walrus advocates slam endangered species denial

Posted October 4

— The Latest on the federal government's decision rejecting the Pacific walrus as a threatened species (all times local):

7:45 a.m.

The author of a petition to list the Pacific walrus as a threatened or endangered species says the federal government has made a disgraceful decision in rejecting the listing.

Center for Biological Diversity climate science director Shaye Wolf says walruses face extinction from climate change and denying them critical protections will push them closer to the edge.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that it wouldn't list the walrus.

A spokesman says the agency isn't certain that walruses will likely become endangered. Patrick Lemons says walruses have adapted to sea ice loss by foraging from shore.

Alaska's only U.S. representative, Don Young, says the decision recognizes the stability of the walrus population and ignores extreme political pressures associated with new Endangered Species Act listings.

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This item has been corrected to show the Center for Biological Diversity climate science director is Shaye Wolf, not Wolfe.

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5 a.m.

The Trump administration will not add the Pacific walrus to a list of threatened species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday that it can't say with certainty that the walrus are likely to become endangered, despite the extensive loss of Arctic sea ice due to global warming.

Walruses use sea ice for resting, breeding and avoiding predators.

The agency says that since 2011, walruses have adapted to sea ice loss by foraging from shore.

The agency's marine mammal management chief in Alaska, Patrick Lemons, says the walrus population is robust and that hunting has declined.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list the walrus. Climate science director Shaye Wolf has said the group likely would sue if the agency rejected a threatened species listing.

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