Wildlife
© Deborah Albert
Polar bear

Majestic creature of the far north, the polar bear is the world's largest terrestrial carnivore. Its Latin name, Ursus maritimus, means 'sea bear': an apt name for this amazing species which spends much of its life in, around, or on the water - predominantly on the sea ice.

Why is the polar bear so important?

Large carnivores - those that are at the apex or top of the food chain - are particularly sensitive indicators of the health of an ecosystem. Polar bears help us gain an understanding of what is happening throughout the Arctic.

All recent indicators show that sea ice in the Arctic is melting at an alarming rate, a problem that needs to be addressed immediately if polar bears, and other species unique to the region, are to survive.

Polar bear facts

  • scientific name
    Ursus maritimus
  • weight
    352 - 680 kg
  • length
    2 - 3 m
  • population
    22,000 - 31,000 polar bears worldwide
  • status
    vulnerable

Polar bears and people

Follow in the footsteps of polar bears

With the help of polar bear researchers, WWF is following polar bears' travels in the Arctic.

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What WWF is doing for polar bears

WWF is working around the Arctic to secure a future for polar bears.

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How we work

Publications

The Circle 04.18
The Circle 04.18
1 October 2018
Polar Bear CAP Scorecard
Polar Bear CAP Scorecard
30 January 2018
Health effects in Arctic wildlife linked to chemical exposures
Health effects in Arctic wildlife linked to chemical exposures
1 June 2016
Factsheet: Keeping people and polar bears safe
Factsheet: Keeping people and polar bears safe
26 February 2016
Polar bears and climate change
Polar bears and climate change
1 December 2015
Impact of climate change on species
Impact of climate change on species
12 November 2015

Meet the team

Tom Arnbom

Tom Arnbom

WWF-Sweden

Senior Advisor, Arctic and marine

Kaare Winther Hansen

Kaare Winther Hansen

WWF-Denmark

Project Coordinator

Femke Hilderink

Femke Hilderink

WWF

Advisor, Nature Conservation – WWF Netherlands

Elisabeth Kruger

Elisabeth Kruger

WWF-US

Senior Program Officer, Arctic Wildlife

Brandon Laforest

Brandon Laforest

WWF-Canada

Senior specialist, Arctic species & ecosystems

Melanie Lancaster

Melanie Lancaster

WWF Arctic Coordinating Team

Senior Specialist, Arctic species

Gert Polet

Gert Polet

WWF

Unit Head, Forests & Wildlife – WWF-Netherlands

Mikhail Stishov

Mikhail Stishov

WWF-Russia

Coordinator, Arctic Biodiversity Conservation Projects

Sybille Klenzendorf

Sybille Klenzendorf

WWF-US

Managing Director, Species Conservation Program

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