Shell Oil Threatens Polar Bear Habitat

from Wildlife Promise


280x170_polarbear_usgs The iconic polar bear already faces many threats- from melting sea ice, shrinking food supply, and climate change. The polar bear was even listed as a threatened species is 2008. To make matters worse, Shell Oil may soon start drilling in critical polar bear habitat.

This summer, Shell Oil will begin offshore drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in the North Slope of the Arctic, unless we speak up.

Speak up now!

Last year, 10,000 NWF supporters pushed the U.S. Department of Interior to finalize a proposal that would designate 202,541 square miles of critical habitat for the polar bear. Under the Endangered Species Act, this would require our government to protect polar bears in this habitat from the threats posed by offshore drilling, and a potentially catastrophic oil spill.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported, "A major Beaufort Sea oil spill would have major effects on polar bears and their primary prey, ringed seals." In an oil spill disaster, polar bears would be particularly at risk for hypothermia, oil poisoning and starvation. The challenges presented by a harsher Arctic ecosystem make an oil spill like the BP disaster even more likely. Offshore drilling in critical polar bear habitat is an unacceptable risk.

The fact that these plans have not been halted in the wake of the BP spill, which is still spewing oil in the Gulf, is outrageous. Our government must include Shell Oil in the moratorium on offshore drilling and stop the plans for drilling in the Arctic.

Stop Shell Oil from drilling in the Arctic this summer! Take action now!

NWF is celebrating Endangered Species Day on May 21, by highlighting ways that you can learn about and advocate for endangered species. Visit www.nwf.org/esday to get a free polar bear photo for your Facebook profile and show your support for endangered and threatened wildlife.

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