Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

Alaska Region Announces the Opening of the 90-Day Comment Period on the Proposal to List Polar Bears as a Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act.

January 1, 2007


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

On January 9, 2007, a "12-Month Petition Finding and Proposed Rule to List the Polar Bear as Threatened Throughout Its Range" was published in the Federal Register. -GB -GBThe Service has found that the petition for listing the polar bear as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act is "Warranted." This notice, as well as supporting documents, is available on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services web page at:

On December 27, 2006, prior to publication in the Federal Register, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne issued a press release and held a press conference announcing the Services intent to propose listing the polar bear as a Threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Scientific evidence of loss of sea ice habitat, continued losses projected into the foreseeable future, and consequences to polar bear populations were the basis for the proposed listing.

class=Level1; " align=left>Publication of this 12-Month Finding in the Federal Register initiates a 90-day comment period. The Service requests comments or information from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:

  • Information on taxonomy, distribution, habitat selection (especially denning habitat), food habits, population density and trends, habitat trends, and effects of management on polar bears;
  • Information on the effects of sea ice change on the distribution and abundance of polar bears and their principal prey over the short- and long-term;
  • Information on the effects of other potential listing factors, including oil and gas development, contaminants, ecotourism, hunting, and poaching on the distribution and abundance of polar bears and their principal prey over the short and long term;
  • Information on regulatory mechanisms and management programs for polar bear conservation, including mitigation measures related to oil and gas exploration and development, hunting conservation programs, anti-poaching programs, and any other private, tribal, or governmental conservation programs which benefit polar bears;
  • Specific areas that may meet the definition of critical habitat, and the specific physical and biological features that should or should not be considered for a proposed critical habitat designation as provided by section 4 of the Act;
  • Information relevant to whether any populations of the species may qualify as distinct population segments; and,
  • The data and studies referred to within the proposal.

Comments and information will be accepted until 5:00 P.M. Alaska Time on April 9, 2007, and may be submitted to: Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Marine Mammals Management Office, 1011 East Tudor Road MS-341, Anchorage, Alaska 99503; or, you may hand deliver written comments to the Marine Mammals Management Office at the above address; or, you may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) directly to the Service at:"> or to the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal at

class=Level1; " align=left>After the 90-day comment period closes, the Service will analyze all the information available and publish a Final Rule within one year of this publication date.

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