May 13, 2008 08:00 ET

Media Advisory-WWF Canada: US Listing Vital to Polar Bear Survival

Global WWF experts go on the record at press briefing

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 13, 2008) -

WHAT: Press Briefing via Conference Call
WHEN: 13:30-14:30 EST (17:30-18:30 GMT)
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
ACCESS: Dial-in #: 1-719-867-0497
Passcode: 231987

WHY: WWF, the global conservation organization with international expertise in polar bear conservation, offers media access to its experts on the eve of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) deadline to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Leading polar bear biologists and conservation scientists will be available to discuss the importance of the ESA listing to the survival of the species.

A U.S. court has given FWS until 2:00 pm on Thursday, May 15 for a final decision. The agency missed another legally required deadline in January, allowing almost 30 million acres of prime polar bear habitat in Alaska's Chukchi Sea to be auctioned for oil and gas exploration. Once a species is listed, FWS is required to designate critical habitat and develop a recovery plan, essentially a guide for management actions with the goal of recovering wildlife populations. Citing loss of polar sea ice due to climate change, FWS proposed listing the species as threatened under the ESA in September 2006. The Administration has since refused to issue a formal decision.

WWF is the only non-governmental organization working in every Arctic country to protect polar bears and their habitat. WWF scientists from the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands are in Washington this week and are also available for interviews.


- GEOFFREY YORK, Coordinator, Polar Bear Conservation Program, WWF

- MARGARET WILLIAMS, Managing Director, Kamchatka-Bering Sea Ecoregion, WWF-US

- DR. PETER EWINS, Director of Species Conservation, WWF-Canada

Moderated by DR. SUE LIEBERMAN, Director of Species, WWF-International

Note to editors:

A transcript of this briefing will be posted on worldwildlife.org. (TBC)

B-roll and high-resolution images of polar bears are available to accompany press stories based on this briefing and mentioning WWF.

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