© By Othmar Vohringer
Yesterday’s announcement by U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne declaring the polar bear as a threatened species came as a bit of a surprise. Only a month ago the government announced that it had no inclination to make a decision on the polar bear. This must be the quickest turn about in political history.
Kempthorne said that the melting ice cap makes this step necessary. It is predicted that by the year 2050 the habitat of the polar bear will be lost due to melting of the ice and this in turn could cause the extinction of the polar bear.
I wonder what made the U.S. government take this drastic step simply based on guesswork of what might be happening by the year 2050. Was it a cosmetic decision? I am inclined to think so especially considering that Dirk Kempthorne announced in the same breath that the listing of the polar bear on the endangered species list would not affect further oil exploration in the Artic and Alaska. Neither will America enforce any other laws and regulations to lower greenhouse gases, the very cause that melts the ice in the Arctic. Kempthorne said that considering such regulations and laws “would be a wholly inappropriate.”
One has to ask what is the point of listing the polar bear if the destruction of its habitat is still permitted by drilling oil in the Artic and polluting the air with the very gases that melt the ice? Is it possible that the American government has bowed to animal rights and environmentalist and their junk science? It’s absolutely possible and wouldn’t be the first time either.
Canada has opposed the listing of the polar bear and made it known that there are no such plans in the near future. Canada is home to two thirds of the world’s polar bear population estimated to be in the neighborhood of 30,000. According to Canadian scientists the polar bear population is still steadily growing and should to be controlled through hunting. The U.S. government’s move to list the polar bear will be hardest felt by the people of Nunavut. The Arctic Inuit people complain the U.S. listing will deter hunters who spend millions of dollars a year for the right to shoot the animals. Paul Okalik, premier of the Nunavut territory where most polar bears live, said populations were at a record level.
Under the listing policy the American hunters are not permitted to take polar bear fur or any other parts back to the United States. The listing of the polar bear as a threatened species is far from settled. Legal battles surrounding the polar bear listing soon will begin. There is hope that during these legal battles common sense will prevail over political cosmetics and feel good decisions.
Tags: Polar Bear, Politics, Endangered Species Act, U.S. Government