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.
Polar bear scorecard 2018
The countries responsible for the conservation of polar bears need to do more to secure a healthy future for the species.Read more
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
352 - 680 kg
2 - 3 m
22,000 - 31,000 polar bears worldwide
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Belugas are extremely sociable mammals that live, hunt and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales.
This predominantly Arctic species is associated with ice floes. Its movement patterns are therefore influenced by the melting and freezing of the ice. The bowhead has suffered from severe over-exploitation that has seen its range shrink considerably since the 17th century.