Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%
Comments: USFWS (2008) reviewed available trend data and concluded that two polar bear populations are increasing (Viscount Melville Sound and M'Clintock Channel; both were severely reduced in the past and are recovering under conservative harvest limits); six populations are stable (Northern Beaufort Sea, Southern Hudson Bay, Davis Strait, Lancaster Sound, Gulf of Bothia, Foxe Basin); five populations are declining (Southern Beaufort Sea, Norwegian Bay, Western Hudson Bay, Kane Basin, Baffin Bay); and six populations are designated as data deficient (Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, Chukchi Sea, Arctic Basin, East Greenland) with no estimate of trend. The two populations with the most extensive time series of data, Western Hudson Bay and Southern Beaufort Sea, were both considered to be declining.
Within the foreseeable future (determined by USFWS 2008 to be 45 years, which is equivalent to three generations), the polar bear is likely to experience a significant decline, primarily as a result of loss of sea ice (USFWS 2008). The projected rate of decline is uncertain but likely will exceed 30 percent over three generations (IUCN SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group).