WASHINGTON, D.C. – Safari Club International (SCI) has filed extensive comments opposing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed listing of the polar bear as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.
SCI hired an independent expert to address recently released U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports on the polar bear. In these reports, the USGS used speculative projections about climate change and sea ice to predict that two thirds of the polar bears would be gone in 45 years — if those projections came true.
SCI challenged the reports, based on their predictions that relied predominantly on the speculative sea ice projections. The reports also relied, contrary to sound modeling practices, upon the “expert judgment” of only a single polar bear researcher. SCI retained a modeling expert, who concluded that there was too much uncertainty and flaws in the data and parameters of the model to ascertain the reliability of the modeling results.
As in earlier comments filed in April 2006 and April 2007, SCI explained that the science regarding the nature and extent of climate change and its impacts on sea ice and polar bears is too uncertain to satisfy the listing criteria under the ESA. SCI’s comments also establish that an ESA listing would harm regulated hunting in Canada, which benefits polar bear research and conservation.
Dennis Anderson, President of SCI, said, “The Fish and Wildlife Service obviously saw gaps in the science and asked the USGS to fill them. The USGS scientists made a valiant effort to complete these reports ahead of the listing deadline. But the speculation about the demise of the polar bear fails to establish the certainty required for an ESA listing. Such uncertainty should never be the basis for imposing the draconian restrictions of the ESA, including a ban on importing legally hunted polar bears from Canada, which could seriously harm polar bear conservation.”
The FWS is expected to make a final listing decision in early January 2008, unless it takes additional time available under the ESA to review the new USGS reports and public comments on them. SCI, and numerous other sporting and conservation groups, have encouraged the FWS to take this additional time before making this important and precedent setting determination.
To read the full comments submitted by SCI to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in response to the U.S. Geological Survey report, please visit www.polarbearfacts.org . To learn more about Safari Club International please visit our website: www.safariclub.org
I personally testified against listing this animal on the ESA in front of the USFWS in January. We need to make our comments heard this bear is not endangered at this time and the statistics that are being used are weak at best. The money coming in for Polar Bear Conservation is coming from hunters and we need real conservation for these animals and it is going to be hunters dollars who support the polar bear. List it on the ESA and hunters dollars will dry up quickly because it will no longer be a species that American Hunters can pursue and bring back into the United States.