They're officially on the endangered species list:

The Bush administration today designated the polar bear as threatened with extinction, making the big arctic bear, whose fate clings to shrinking sea ice, the first creature added to the endangered species list primarily because of global warming.

The designation invokes federal protections under the Endangered Species Act, the nation's most powerful environmental law that requires designation of critical habitat to be protected as well as forming a strategy to assist the bear population's recovery.

The decision came only after a U.S. District Court in Oakland forced the Bush administration's hand by imposing a May 15 deadline for the decision that was supposed to have been completed by Jan. 9.

--Josh Patashnik