Gm520-Endangered and Threatened Wildlife Determination

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The Department of the Interior protects America’s natural resources while honoring our various heritage, cultures, and tribal communities as well as supplies the energy of the future. The primary focus is within the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Federal Government. The existence of wildlife and plants is constantly threatened as a direct result of humanity. Global Warming is finally receiving acknowledgement necessary to make a difference in the wasteful and destructive routines of human expansion. Artic wildlife is experiencing the most difficulties as the surrounding glaciers are all melting. Our primary focus is on polar bears as they rely on masses of ice to rest after hunting for food. With the emergence of warmer climate, the areas of ice are diminishing leaving polar bears swimming for even longer until they drown from exhaustion. A federal regulation was passed in May of 2008 to protect the polar bear species from extinction by adding them to the endangered list. This should be a wake-up call to every individual living on the planet Earth as it is time to take responsibility for our actions and start making serious changes. Continued decrease of sea ice levels is expected in the future which affects the entire span of polar bears which reclassifies their status as threatened and endangered.

The initial process began with a 12-Month Petition Finding and Proposed Rule during the year 2007. Polar bears are considered threatened with critical habitat under The Endangered Species Act of 1973. According to the Act: “Through Federal action and by encouraging the establishment of State programs, The Endangered Species Act of 1973 provided for the conservation of ecosystems upon which threatened and endangered species of fish, wildlife, and plants depend on.” (FWS, para. 1). Comments from the public were encouraged and were to be received by April 9, 2007, Alaska local time. The Proposed Rule was made final within the following year. The final ruling of the Federal Regulation: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Threatened Status for the Polar Bear became effective on May 15, 2008. Additional scientific information has been established since the rule was proposed which includes more sea ice research, climatological studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Scientific Analyses conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The proposed to final rule protects a “Critical Habitat” by designation for the Polar Bears.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) defines a critical habitat as “An area that contains habitat features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and which may require special management considerations. A critical habitat designation does not set up a preserve or refuge. Federal agencies that undertake, fund, or permit activities that may affect critical habitat are required to consult with the Service to ensure that such actions do not adversely modify or destroy designated critical habitat.” (FWS, p. 1). Knowing more about the species biology and behavioral patterns helps us to better protect and even predict future existence. Polar Bears evolved from Grizzly Bears after the ice age, or as scientists refer to as the Interglacial Ice Period. The evolutionary process resulted in some unique characteristics that enabled their survival in arctic climates. Water repellant dense fur, carnivorous shaped teeth, and small-circular shaped projections from the soles of their feet to provide traction are among a few that made them adaptable to life on ice.

The species preference is sea-ice but during melting periods will spend time on land for portions of the year as they wait for new ice to form. Due to the climate change more polar bears than ever recorded in history are found on land. The large species requires 4-5 pounds of seal fat a day to survive. When food is not abundant they will hunt walruses, beluga whales, and...
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