Ursus Maritimus - Polar Bear

Polar Bear

Environment: Polar bears occur at low densities throughout their range and are most abundant in shallow water areas near shore or where currents or upwellings increase biological productivity near ice areas associated with open water, polynyas or lead systems. Polar bears are not as abundant in the high central arctic over deeper waters of the polar basin.

Status: Vulnerable A3c ver 3.1

Population trend: Decreasing

Native Habitat: Canada (Labrador, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Québec, Yukon); Greenland; Norway; Russian Federation (Krasnoyarsk, North European Russia, West Siberia, Yakutiya); Svalbard and Jan Mayen; United States (Alaska)

Habitat Loss / threats: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment have both predicted that the Arctic is extremely vulnerable to projected climate change. Polar bears will likely be shifted pole-ward if the sea ice retreats. According to new scenarios presented by the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre and others, the polar ice cap will disappear almost entirely during summer in the next 100 years. The increasing changes in the sea ice that affect access to prey will have a negative effect on the bears. With less food, polar bears will fail to reproduce more often and give birth to smaller young that have higher mortality rates.