On May 14, 2008, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) was listed as a "threatened species" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
 
There is more than one reason that the polar bear is listed as threatened. Polar bears live long lives but do not reproduce quickly. A low reproduction rate makes polar bears more vulnerable to a population decline than some other species. Polar bears are also sensitive to changes in the environment, such as melting sea ice. Polar bears use sea ice as a place to hunt for seals and also to mate. If too much ice melts, polar bears may lose their ability to survive. In recent years, sea ice has been melting more and more in the Arctic during summer. This leaves polar bears with less available habitat
Noun

region at Earth's extreme north, encompassed by the Arctic Circle.

decline
Verb

to reduce or go down in number.

Endangered Species Act
Noun

(1973) U.S. legislation that protects endangered species when they are threatened by human activity.

environment
Noun

conditions that surround and influence an organism or community.

Noun

environment where an organism lives throughout the year or for shorter periods of time.

hunt
Verb

to pursue and kill an animal, usually for food.

mate
Verb

to reproduce or breed.

reproduce
Verb

to create offspring, by sexual or asexual means.

survive
Verb

to live.

threatened species
Noun

organism that may soon become endangered.

vulnerable species
Noun

level of conservation between "near threatened" and "endangered." Vulnerable is the lowest of the "threatened" categories.

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