WWF-Canada

WWF-Canada

May 14, 2008 14:53 ET

WWF-Canada Polar Bear Expert Available for Comment on Today's Announcement by Secretary Kempthorne

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 14, 2008) - At 2:30 p.m. at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne has indicated he will make a major announcement on the status of the polar bear. Dr. Pete Ewins, Director, Species Conservation at WWF-Canada will be available to comment on what this announcement means for polar bears, for Canada and for climate change.



To schedule an interview please contact:
Kyle Ferguson
Manager, Communications
WWF-Canada
416-819-5631


Background Information:

In advance of Secretary Kempthorne's announcement, WWF, the global conservation organization with international expertise in polar bear conservation, held a press briefing at 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDT via conference call to allow media access to its experts. This falls 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 discussed the importance of the ESA listing to the survival of the species.

A U.S. court has given FWS until 2:00 p.m. 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.

Note to editors:

A transcript of WWF's conference call press briefing will be posted on worldwildlife.org.

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

Contact Information

  • WWF-Canada
    Kyle Ferguson
    Manager, Communications
    (416) 819-5631
    Website: www.wwf.ca