Environmental group to sue Trump administration over Pacific walrus

A young Pacific Walrus bull in coastal Alaska waters. (Photo by Joel Garlich-Miller/USFWS)

An environmental group announced on Thursday that it plans to sue the Trump administration for refusing to list the Pacific walrus under the Endangered Species Act.

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The Center for Biological Diversity first petitioned the feds to list the walrus in 2008 — the same year the polar bear was listed as threatened. The Center argues the same forces that threaten polar bears — including climate change and disappearing sea ice — also put the Pacific walrus at risk of extinction.

Retreating Arctic sea ice has caused more female walrus to crowd onto beaches in coastal Alaska and Russia. The crowding can turn deadly when stampedes occur.

But the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said the animal has “demonstrated an ability to adapt to changing conditions.” The agency declined to grant the walrus more protections because it said the population “appears stable.”

The Center for Biological Diversity asserts there’s evidence from government scientists to refute that claim. The organization can sue the Trump administration after 60 days — if nothing changes with the listing decision.

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