SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The federal government is failing to protect the ribbon seal by refusing to put it on the endangered species list, Greenpeace and the Center for Biological Diversity claim in Federal Court. The groups say that because the seal lives on rapidly melting sea ice it “faces likely global extinction in the wild by the end of this century due to global warming.”
The groups want Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and the National Marine Fisheries Service to re-evaluate their rejection of the ribbon seal as endangered.
In December 2008, Secretary Locke found that the ribbon seal is “not in danger or likely to become so in the foreseeable future.” The “foreseeable future” is sometime around 2050, according to Locke’s report.
The environmentalists disagree. They say that with seal habitat quickly shrinking, mother seals will abandon their pups early, leading to high ribbon seal pup mortality rates. And they say the seals risk exposure to predators such as grizzly bears, wolves and Arctic foxes if they are forced to rear their young on land.
The groups ask that Locke’s finding be declared “arbitrary, capricious and unlawful.” They are represented by Brendan Cummings with the Center for Biological Diversity of Joshua Tree, Calif.