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Walrus advocates, Alaska officials await US listing decision

AP Photo
The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The federal agency that manages Pacific walrus is scheduled to decide this week whether the animals should be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

A court settlement calls for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make a listing decision by the end of September, which is Saturday.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed the listing petition in February 2008. Climate science director Shaye Wolf says walruses’ primary habitat, sea ice, has decreased by half in recent decades because of climate change. Climate models predict the loss will continue.

The state of Alaska opposes the listing.

State Division of Wildlife Conservation director Bruce Dale says the walrus population is robust and that projections of future sea ice melt are uncertain.

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