Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) A federal court case will decide if the Pacific walrus should get more protections.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed the litigation Thursday over the Trump administration's decision to not list the Arctic marine mammals are threatened due to diminished sea ice.
During The Obama administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the walruses deserve additional protections from being declared threatened. However, a final decision was delayed because agency officials said other species were a higher priority.
In October, facing a court-ordered deadline for a final decision, the agency reversed course and said it could not conclude with certainty that walruses would be affected by ice loss because they have shown an ability to forage from shoreline resting areas.
Emily Jeffers, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, said walruses need sea ice for far more than foraging. She said they need sea ice for essential life functions like mating, to nursing, to molting and resting.