polar bears are not endangered.
The Obama administration is sticking with a George W. Bush-era decision to deny polar bears endangered species status.
In a court filing Wednesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the previous administration's decision to give the polar bear the less-protective "threatened" species designation, a move that will frustrate environmentalists who hoped for stronger protections under the Endangered Species Act.
FWS Director Rowan Gould said the 2008 "threatened" listing was made "following careful analysis of the best scientific information, as required by the ESA."
At the time, the service determined the bears weren't danger of extinction, so did not warrant the "endangered" status. The bears were listed as "threatened" because they face serious threats from projected decline in its sea ice habitat due to global warming would result in them likely being in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.
FWS is "confident it was and is the appropriate status," Gould said.