Breaking! Arctic Ringed Seals Are Now Protected Under The Endangered Species Act Per The U.S. Court Of Appeals

NOAA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit today upheld federal Endangered Species Act protections for ringed seals, Arctic ice seals are sadly threatened by climate change.

Today’s ruling reverses a 2016 lower court decision that rejected the listing as speculative, finding that the listing is based on the best available science documenting the widespread loss of the sea-ice habitat the species needs to survive.

The Center for Biological Diversity originally petitioned to list the species in 2008, and the National Marine Fisheries Service listed the species as threatened in 2012. The oil industry, the state of Alaska and others challenged the listing rule in federal court in Alaska, and the Center intervened to defend the listing.

“This major victory gives ringed seals vital protections in the face of climate change and melting sea ice,” said Kristen Monsell, a Center attorney who argued the case, in a statement. “The decision underscores the recklessness of the Trump administration’s proposal to open up the Arctic Ocean to oil drilling. Ringed seals have a shot at survival thanks to the Endangered Species Act, but only if we rapidly reduce the greenhouse pollution destroying their habitat.”

Today’s decision from the 9th Circuit relies heavily on its 2016 decision upholding Endangered Species Act protections for bearded seals, another Arctic ice species threatened by climate change.

The court found that, as with the bearded seal, climate change models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that ringed seal habitat is diminishing as sea ice recedes and “reasonably supported the determination that a species reliant on sea ice likely would become endangered in the foreseeable future.”

Ringed seals give birth in snow caves built on top of the sea ice. Global warming is reducing the amount of snowpack there, causing caves to collapse and leaving pups vulnerable to predators and also left to freeze.

The Endangered Species Act listing of ringed seals offers them increased protection against greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, as well as oil and gas development. It also requires the federal government to designate critical habitat to protect the species most essential habitat areas.

Listing of the seals does not affect subsistence harvest of the species by Alaska natives.

More on this topic

Popular stories

Heart-Breaking News! First Fin Whale is Killed During Icelandic Whaling Company, Hvalur hf’s, Cruel & Controversial Hunting Season

The image is not of the Fin Whale killed on Friday. Photo from EIA. Conservation and animal protection organizations were horrified at the slaughter on...

World Animal News TOP Stories Making Headlines This Month

1. China Bans Wildlife Trade Permanently Due To The Coronavirus Outbreak That Has Already Claimed The Lives Of More Than 3,000 People The National People’s Congress...

New Campaign In India Aims To Protect 30,0000 Wild Elephants

To commemorate World Elephant Day last Saturday, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) took a huge step in protecting the country’s remaining and future wild...