With John McCain’s naming of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate last month, the nation has taken a crash course in trying to figure out exactly who this self-proclaimed “hockey mom” is, and where she stands on important national issues. Whether or not you believe she opposed the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” one thing is clear – she does not appear to be a friend to wildlife. Many have heard about her support for the brutal practice of aerial hunting. But did you know that she actually filed a lawsuit to prevent the listing of polar bears as an endangered species?
Palin ignored the recommendations of Alaskan scientists and objected to the U.S. Interior Department‘s naming of the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because melting ice has shrunk its habitat. In fact, she sued the federal government in August 2008 (just before being tapped as a VP candidate) over the potential listing as “not based on sound science.” Palin argued that the polar bear population has increased over the past 30 years. Her primary concern is that listing polar bears as threatened would unnecessarily curb oil and gas drilling in certain areas where the bears live. Palin’s actions seek to challenge the announcement of Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne that he would accept the recommendation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list polar bears as threatened because “the loss of sea ice [due to global warming] threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat.” Due to the continuing loss of habitat, polar bears are at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future – this qualifies them under the law for the threatened listing. Who has not seen photos like the one above? Can we really deny that the bears’ habitat is shrinking and will continue to do so in the future?
If Palin’s actions concerning polar bears are not disturbing enough, did you know that some Americans travel to Canada to legally hunt the bears and then return home with trophies? You can take action to stop this disturbing import practice by signing a petition to be delivered to the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. You can make a difference in the protection of polar bears!