Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 23, 2018

Contact: Shaye Wolf, (415) 385-5746,

Wildlife in Danger as Arctic Sea Ice Maximum Hits Near Record Low

Trump Administration Recently Blocked Protections for Pacific Walrus

SAN FRANCISCO— Scientists at NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center confirmed today that this winter’s Arctic maximum sea ice extent was the second-lowest ever recorded. The announcement comes months after the Trump administration blocked endangered species protection for the ice-dependent Pacific walrus.

“This is devastating news for Arctic wildlife like polar bears and walruses that depend on sea ice for survival,” said Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Because of our failure to rein in carbon pollution, these amazing animals are suffering as their habitat melts away even faster than we predicted. But the Trump administration is failing to protect them.”

Without strong action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, projections indicate that summer sea ice will disappear in the next decade or two. If sea ice loss continues unabated, scientists estimate that polar bears will be drastically reduced across their range by mid-century and ultimately disappear.

Following the Center’s 2008 petition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined in 2011 that the Pacific walrus warranted protection under the Endangered Species Act. Officials concluded that climate change would destroy the walrus’s habitat and shrink its population. But in October the Trump administration reversed the determination and denied the walrus protection. The Center recently filed a lawsuit challenging this decision.

“Making a dire situation worse, the Trump administration is dismantling critical climate policies while blocking protection for the ice-dependent Pacific walrus,” Wolf said. “With every wake-up call we ignore, we inch closer to losing these creatures forever.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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