The Polar Bear – Vanilla
The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a bear native within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean and its surrounding seas and land masses. The great white polar bear is the youngest and largest of the world’s bear species. It is also the world’s largest land carnivore. An adult male can weighs up to 1,500 pounds, while an adult female is about half that size. Although a mighty hunter and fierce defender of its young, the polar bear is among the world’s most vulnerable animals. Polar bears could be extinct by 2050 if greenhouse gas-fueled global warming keeps melting their Arctic sea-ice habitat.
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has led the charge to save polar bears from extinction. The CBD wrote the 2005 scientific petition calling for the bear’s protection under the Endangered Species Act, and filed suit twice with their partners to force the federal government to take action on that petition. In May 2008, the work paid off when the bear was finally listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The next year, the CBD’s work spurred the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose the protection for more than 128 million acres of polar bear habitat; the largest critical habitat proposal in Endangered Species Act history.
The CBD is defending the polar bear in court from dangerous oil and gas exploration in its habitat off Alaska. In approving plans by Shell Oil to drill in the area, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar failed to assess the environmental impacts of a large oil spill. This would put polar bears and the entire Arctic ecosystem at risk. The polar bear still does not have complete federal protection. When former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that the polar bear would be listed as threatened, he simultaneously vowed he would not let the listing affect U.S. climate policy, executing an illegal final “4(d)” rule (a special rule that changes the usual protections for endangered species). Kempthorne’s rule exempted greenhouse gas emissions and oil development, the two leading threats to the bear by far, from regulation under the Endangered Species Act. The Center immediately challenged the rule, which was made final in December 2008. The suit remains active even as the Center defends the bear’s listing from those who would reverse it, including a trophy-hunting group and the state of Alaska.
The polar bear got a new chance at more meaningful protections in March 2009, when Congress gave Interior Secretary Ken Salazar the power to revoke the 4(d) rule with the stroke of a pen. But the day before his deadline to do that, Salazar announced he would turn his back on the polar bear and leave the rule in place, ignoring hundreds of thousands of citizen petitions to save the bear (94,000 from CBD supporters), as well as requests from more than 1,300 scientists, more than 50 prominent legal experts, dozens of lawmakers, and more than 130 conservation organizations. Armed with this support and the CBD’s drive to save the bear, the CBD will continue its fight for the species’ survival.
The Center for Biological Diversity has shown an extraordinary level of effectiveness in protecting our environment. They believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature, specifically to the existence of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value and because its loss impoverishes society, they work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. They do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive. For these reasons and more Endangered Wildlife Lip Balm is excited to support their cause and the CBD is currently the sole beneficiary of our philanthropy. For more information about the CBD visit www.biologicaldiversity.org.
Endangered Wildlife® Lip Balm’s mission is to protect endangered species and their habitat through the promotion of eco-conscious, organic body care products. To further this mission, we financially support individuals and groups who share these values.
25% of profits donated to protect endangered animals & their habitat.
ENDANGERED WILDLIFE® LIP BALM: Organic Lip Therapy for a Worthy Cause
- USDA Certified Organic; Oregon Tilth Certified Organic.
- Petroleum, Preservative, Gluten & Cruelty FREE.
- Environmental & Sustainable Practices, Products & Facilities.
- Handcrafted with care: all of our products are mixed and poured by hand. Creating them in small batches allows our production staff to pay close attention to the details of our process, insuring the finest quality and consistency.
Protection Status: Threatened
Year Placed on List: 2008
Critical Habitat & Recovery Plan: None
Range: In and around the Arctic Ocean with southernmost occurrence at Canada’s James Bay; populations occur within jurisdictions of the U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, and Russia.
Threats: Primarily melting of sea-ice habitat due to intensifying global warming, in combination with other threats including oil and gas development, environmental contaminants such as PCBs, industrial noise, harassment from increased Arctic shipping and other activities, and over hunting in some areas.
Population Trend: Polar bear numbers increased following the establishment of hunting regulations in the 1970s and today stand at 20,000 to 25,000. The rapid decline of Arctic sea-ice due to global warming has reversed this trend, and currently at least five of the 19 polar bear populations, including those in Western Hudson Bay, are declining. Scientists estimate that if the Arctic continues its melting trend, the worldwide polar bear population will decline by two-thirds by 2050 and will be near extinction by the end of the century. As actual sea-ice melting has proceeded much faster than predicted by scientific models, population declines may occur much faster as well.