Conserving the Nature of America
Statement for Polar Bear Decision

January 7, 2008


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

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working diligently to reach a final decision on the proposal to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. We expect to provide a final recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior and finalize the decision within the next month.

When the polar bear was proposed for listing in January 2007, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne directed the Service to work with the U.S. Geological Survey, the public and the scientific community to broaden our understanding of what is happening with the polar bear and to gather additional information to inform the final decision on whether the species warrants Federal protection under the ESA.

In September 2007, USGS scientists supplied new research findings to the Service updating population information on the Southern Bering Sea polar bear and providing additional data on sea ice trends and effects on polar bear populations throughout the species range.

As a result of the new USGS research findings, the Service reopened and later extended a second comment period to allow the public time to review the information and respond. We received numerous comments on the USGS reports and have been working to analyze and respond to the information provided during the comment period. At the time we made the decision to reopen and to extend the comment period, the Director of the Service alerted the Department that the Service might need extra time to adequately evaluate and incorporate results from the comments received.

You may visit the Marine Mammals Management site for comprehensive polar bear information at

Note: Media: If you have further questions or would like to be included on the media distribution list when the final decision is announced, please email Valerie Fellows, Office of Public Affairs at

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.

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