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A subspecies of rhino native to Southeast Asia has been wiped out. There are now just 50 members of its parent species, the Javan rhino, left in the world. It's a reminder that the danger in endangered is real, and we can't just sit back and hope conservationists can keep human beings from annihilating Earth's biodiversity. (more)

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During her speech at a logging conference in Redding, Calif., on Monday, Sarah Palin criticized California's environmental regulations, pointed to her polar-bear-related lawsuit against the federal government, and compared certain global warming research to "snake oil science."

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More than any other mammal (except of course Mr. Homo sapiens), Ursus maritimus, which translates as maritime bear, has been in the forefront of the news lately, the subject of television specials, lawsuits, congressional debates, and New York Times editorials. Why?

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The plight of the polar bear has come to represent the real-world impact of the climate crisis, so it is only fitting that the Bush administration had to be ordered by a court to make a decision on the endangered status of the species. After years of delay, the Interior Department finally classified the animal as threatened, but also promised to fight any meaningful protection.

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George Bush's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hasn't been the most proactive defender of the environment. The agency has been avoiding a decision on the fate of the polar bear since 2005, but a federal judge has just ordered the administration to officially classify the world's largest land predator endangered or not by May 15.

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The Department of the Interior will recommend adding polar bears to the endangered species list, a rare acknowledgment by the Bush administration of the impact of global warming. The world's largest bears depend on ever-shrinking Arctic sea ice for their survival.

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