On October 4, the US Fish and Wildlife Service ruled against adding the Pacific walrus to the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Although the Obama administration ruled in 2011 that the species warranted protection, it did not immediately designate the species as threatened or endangered. Instead, the walrus was placed on a candidate list.
The final decision by the USFWS was not based on any new science that suggested the walrus was more secure now than six years ago—in fact, sea ice, on which walrus depend for all their vital behaviors, has receded at a record pace over the past two years. Rather, the decision was based on arbitrarily limiting how far into the future population trends could be projected when making listing decisions.