Pacific walrus, and 24 other species denied endangered protection by Trump administration.

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that 25 species do not qualify for protection under the Endangered Species act.

Amongst the included species is the Pacific walrus, which the Obama administration granted limited protections to because of the effects of global warming and the loss of summer sea ice.

In 2008, a petition was filed with USFWS to consider listing the Pacific walrus as endangered or threatened, and it has been a candidate for protection under the ESA since 2011.

“We find that beyond 2060 the conclusions concerning the impacts of the effects of climate change on the Pacific walrus population are based on speculation, rather than reliable prediction.”

-Dept. of Interior

Also denied were the Florida Keys mole skink, which is threatened by rising sea-levels were removed from the list. As were 14 species of Nevada springsnails, which are threatened by the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to pump groundwater in the northern part of the state.

“This is a truly dark day for America’s imperiled wildlife. You couldn’t ask for a clearer sign that the Trump administration puts corporate profits ahead of protecting endangered species,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Pacific walrus, Florida Keys mole skink, eastern boreal toad and 22 other species are now one step closer to extinction. We’re going to challenge as many of these bogus findings as we can.”

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A memo released by the Department of Interior said

“While we have high certainty that sea-ice availability will decline as a result of climate change, we have less certainty, particularly further into the future, about the magnitude of effect that climate change will have on the full suite of environmental conditions (e.g., benthic productivity) or how the species will respond to those changes.”

“We find that beyond 2060 the conclusions concerning the impacts of the effects of climate change on the Pacific walrus population are based on speculation, rather than reliable prediction.”

800px-Bicknells_Thrush_From_The_Crossley_ID_Guide_Eastern_Birds
Bicknell’s Thrush. Credit: Wikimedia

Other species denied access to the endangered list are the Barbour’s map turtle, Bicknell’s thrush, the Big Blue Springs cave crayfish, the Oregon Cascades-California and the Black Hills populations of the black-backed woodpecker, the Great Sand Dunes tiger beetle, Kirtland’s snake, and the San Felipe gambusia.

“Denying protection for these 25 species despite the imminent threat of climate change and ongoing habitat destruction is typical of the Trump administration’s head-in-the-sand approach,” said Greenwald.

However, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (R. – AK.) applauded the decision on the Pacific walrus.

“I am pleased with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to not add the Pacific walrus to the endangered or threatened species lists,” Murkowski said. “Their thorough review, driven by the best available data and science, found that the population of Pacific walrus is robust and healthy, and has proven that it can adapt to the changing conditions in the Arctic. This decision will allow for the continued responsible harvest of Pacific walrus for subsistence and traditional uses by Alaska Natives.”

Last week the Alaskan Congressional Delegation sent a letter  to the Acting Director of the USFWS, Greg Sheehan, requesting that the Pacific walrus is not added to the endangered or threatened species lists.

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has a decade and a half of experience working in a fast-paced newsroom. He’s worked as a journalist, weather chief, and news director.

He was on air during major weather and news events, including Hurricane Katrina, and the EF-4 tornados that struck the city of Hattiesburg in 2013.

Ortego is a two-time 1st place recipient in Investigative Journalism from The Mississippi Associated Press and a five-time recipient of Best Weather Broadcast.