Polar bear
© Richard Barrett / WWF-UK
Polar bear CAP scorecard 2018
The countries responsible for the conservation of polar bears need to do more to secure a healthy future for the species.
Full scorecard

WWF's Polar Bear CAP Scorecard summarises the first two years of work on the Circumpolar Action Plan for the Conservation of Polar Bears (CAP). The CAP is the only international mechanism that brings together all five Range States - Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States - to manage polar bears. The five Range States agreed to the 10-year implementation strategy.

At their current rate of work, the polar bear Range States will NOT meet their 10-year target. Two years in just three, or 5%, of their actions are complete... just the tip of the iceberg of what needs to be achieved.

The primary habitat of polar bears - sea ice - is shrinking rapidly due to climate change and Range States must continue to demonstrate their leadership by sticking to their goal to implement the CAP by 2025 to ensure a future for the species.

Polar bears around the Arctic


Approximately one third of polar bears

move across national boundaries.

22 000 – 31 000

Polar bears worldwide

By 2050

or within three polar bear generations, scientists predict we will lose a third of the world’s polar bears without urgent action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.


Rating system

These scorecards summarise the overall performance of the Range States and the PBSG on delivering 19 actions from 2015 to 2017. They include assessments of their conservation performance towards the six Key Objectives, incorporation of TEK and implementation of management activities essential for the CAP’s success.

D <40% of maximum score Little or no progress on implementation
C 40-60% of maximum score Some progress on implementation
B 60-80% of maximum score Encouraging progress on implementation
A >80% of maximum score Full or substantive implementation
N/A No data Data not publicly available or not shared with WWF

Overall performance

Objective Overall Joint Action Polar Bear Specialists Group
Conservation performance
Minimise threats B C N/A
Communicate about climate change and polar bears A C N/A
Preserve polar bear habitat C N/A C
Monitor populations and manage harvest A N/A B
Manage human-polar bear conflict C D N/A
Ensure sustainable trade A N/A N/A
Incorporation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)
Incorporate TEK B B N/A
Management activities
CAP Operations B B C
Performance measurement A A N/A
Transparency C C N/A
Overall score B C C

Our recommendations

Improve implementation

Take a more strategic and structured approach moving forward. At the current rate of implementation, the Range States will not meet their 10-year target.

Provide access to information

Enhance accountability for CAP implementation

Work cooperatively

Collaboration is the key to success.

Work with scientists

Reliable support from scientific experts is crucial for the CAP’s implementation.

Work with Indigenous Peoples to integrate Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)

Consensus on science is needed to inform management of polar bears. It is essential that Indigenous Peoples are central to decisions made on the use of TEK in polar bear management.

Talk about the biggest threat to polar bears

Range States need to urgently deliver on their mandate to “bring global focus to the threat of climate change to the Arctic and polar bears”.