The Trump administration has moved to remove Endangered Species Act protections from Pacific Walruses, claiming the endangered animals have the ability to adapt and persist during changes in their environment.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a statement claiming that “the Pacific walrus population has persisted through past climate change events,” only to contradict themselves in the next line: “however, the ability of the Pacific walrus population to adapt to or cope with increasing stress in the future is uncertain,” the USFWS wrote, the Huffington Post reports.
Environmentalists have spoken out against the move, equating it to a death sentence for the animals.
“Walruses face extinction from climate change, and denying them critical protections will push them closer to the edge,” climate science director for the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement to The Huffington Post.
Pacific walruses have traditionally used sea ice for various needs including giving birth, nursing and resting, however, as the earth gets warmer, the sea ice has melted and the walruses have been forced to move onto land.
USFWS claimed this is a sign of adaptation on the part of the walruses, however, the walruses are more likely to be targeted by predators on land and have less access to food.