Appeals Court: Arctic Ringed Seals are Threatened Species

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An ice seal that's the main prey of Alaska's polar bears will receive threatened species protection.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday overturned a District Court decision and said the National Marine Fisheries Service acted properly in listing ringed seals.

    Ringed seals thrive in completely ice-covered Arctic waters by digging and maintaining breathing holes.

    Females create ice caves on sea ice and give birth to pups that are susceptible to freezing until they grow a blubber layer.

    The decision to list ringed seals follows closely a decision to list bearded seals because of their dependence on sea ice and a projected loss of sea ice due to climate warming.

    The judges said the listing decision based on climate models was proper because it's the best available science.

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