The US fish and wildlife service has decided to list the polar bear as threatened, according to leaked media reports, a decision that would be welcomed by WWF.
WWF had supported the petition to classify the species as threatened, based on a large volume of compelling information about significant changes in the polar bear’s habitat: the Arctic sea ice.
Polar bears hunt, feed, mate and frequently den on the sea ice. Yet , this ocean habitat is vanishing as a result of warming air and sea temperatures over the last decades.
"The polar bear has become an icon of threatened species because of humanity's disregard for the environment, " said Dr Susan Lieberman, Director of WWF's Global Species Programme.
"Although we welcome the decision, it is tragic that we are pushing more and more species to extinction. In that sense, it is a hollow victory."
WWF is a leading organization in polar bear conservation, working with communities, scientists, and government agencies around the Arctic to protect polar bears.
WWF is particularly concerned about this species as a symbol of Arctic wildlife in one of WWF’s priority areas for conservation, the Bering Sea ecoregion.
Joanna Benn, Communications Manager
WWF Global Species Programme