Two types of ice seals joined polar bears Dec. 21 on the list of species threatened by the loss of sea ice, which scientists say reached record low levels this year due to climate warming.
Ringed seals, the main prey of polar bears, and bearded seals in the Arctic Ocean will be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced.
A species is threatened if it's likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout a significant portion of its range.
The listing of the seals came after federal scientists did an extensive review of scientific and commercial data. It has no effect on subsistence hunting by Alaska Natives.