Federal officials say they will consider listing four species of ice seals in Alaska as endangered.
The seals and other marine mammals in northern waters have been losing habitat as sea ice recedes.
Many scientists and conservation groups say it’s the result of global warming brought on by humans.
A spokesman for National Marine Fisheries Service says the agency accepted a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity seeking protection for ribbon seals, which inhabit the Bering Sea.
Acting Administrator Doug Mecum says the agency also will review bearded, spotted and ringed seals for possible listing.
This month the center and two other conservation groups sued the government for missing a deadline on a decision to list polar bears as threatened.