The polar bear is a carnivorous bear that is natively found in the Arctic Circle as well as its surrounding landmasses. With males weighing between 350-700 kg (772-1,543 lb), it is a large bear, with females generally weighing around half as much. Their distinctive white fur and association with the Arctic have made polar bears into a popular icon, especially in areas where they are native. As a carnivore, the polar bear's diet consists primarily of ringed and bearded seals. The seal is the polar bear's choice of meal because it must consume large amounts of fat to survive. Although polar bears spend over 50% of their time hunting for food, less than 2% of their hunts are successful.
The total polar bear population is divided across 19 subpopulations. The latest data from the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group shows that three of those subpopulations are in decline and are likely to do so even further due to climate change.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Polar bears have been listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.
- There are only between 20,000-25,000 polar bears left in the wild.
- The polar bear's scientific name is ursus maritimus.
- Adult polar bears can be anywhere in between 800 to 1,300 pounds.
- Polar bears can reach up to 9 feet in length, or as short as 6 feet.