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onservationists around the world were delighted
 

Summary: C
onservationists around
the world were delighted
to hear that the United
States was considering
addingpolarbearstothelistofani-
mals enjoying the protection of the
EndangeredSpeciesAct--thecor-
nerstone of US environmental law
since 1973. But some experts may
have greeted the news with a wry
smile. Polar bears might well be
threatenedbytherapidlychangingclimateoftheArctic--but
whethertheyactuallyconstituteaspeciesisupfordebate.
Geneticstudieshaveshownthatsomebrownbears(Ursus
arctos)aremorecloselyrelatedtopolarbears(U.maritimus)
thantheyaretosomeotherbrownbears1
.Accordingtosome
interpretationsofthewordspecies,thismeansthatifbrown
bears are a species, then polar bears are not. This is not, in

  

Source: Arbogast, Brian - Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology