WWF Polar Bear Tracker. Photo: Georg Bangjord.
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Polar Bears at Risk

Large carnivores are sensitive indicators of ecosystem health. Polar bears are studied to gain an understanding of what is happening throughout the Arctic. A polar bear at risk is often a sign of something wrong somewhere in the arctic marine ecosystem.
  • The area covered by arctic sea ice is melting at an unprecedented rate. Polar bears need sea ice to access their food, and to move from hunting grounds to their denning or summer resting areas.

  • Toxic chemicals transported to the Arctic from the south have long-term effects on polar bear health and longevity.

  • Oil exploration in the Arctic affects polar bears by fragmenting and disturbing their habitat, and by introducing oil and other toxic substances to their environment.

  • Although much of the traditional harvesting in local communities is sustainable, the main threat to polar bears in some areas is still over-hunting.

Download the report (PDF - 374 KB)
All threats point to the polar bear.

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