Polar bears could be listed as ‘endangered’

WASHINGTON: US President George W Bush’s administration is proposing to list the polar bear as an endangered species because of warming temperatures in the animal’s habitat, The Washington Post has reported.

The proposal, described by an Interior Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity, marks the first time the administration has identified climate change as the driving force behind the potential demise of a species, the paper said.

“We’ve reviewed all the available data that leads us to believe the sea ice the polar bear depends on has been receding,” the Interior official told the paper.

“Obviously, the sea ice is melting because the temperatures are warmer.”

The official added that US Fish and Wildlife Service officials have concluded that polar bears could be endangered within 45 years, the report said.

A spokesman for the Interior Department was not immediately available for comment.

The Bush administration has consistently rejected scientific thesis that human activity contributes to global warming and has resisted capping greenhouse gas emissions as bad for business and US workers.

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