Bears buoyed?

Environmentalists determined to protect polar bears earned a hard-fought victory last week. Still, the battle over the animals’ welfare is far from being won.

The Bush administration may have finally listed the bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but officials from the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been mum on exactly how the species will be protected. Instead, officials outlined how the protections would not hurt gas exploration and power plants in the Arctic region, reported The Associated Press.

Conservationists fear the designation means little to the administration. “They’re trying to make this a threatened listing in name only … and that’s not going to fly,” Jamie Rappaport, former Wildlife Service director, told the AP.