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U.S. to set status of walrus

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is set to make a decision on whether to recommend listing the Pacific walrus as threatened or endangered, officials said.

The decision under the Endangered Species Act was set to be made Monday but will not be made public until it is printed in the Federal Register, a process that normally takes a few days, KTUU-TV, Anchorage, Alaska, reported.

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The Center for Biological Diversity sued the FWS in 2008 after the agency missed a 90-day deadline to determine whether the center's petition to list the walrus as threatened or endangered had merit. The service was given a Jan. 31 deadline to make its decision.

The Federal Marine Mammal Commission recommended this month the walrus be listed as threatened or endangered because of the threat from shrinking sea ice, which walruses use for feeding and giving birth.

Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center have reported a steady decline in sea ice, and say summer sea ice could disappear completely by 2030, KTUU reported.

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