Polar bears have a circumpolar distribution. They range throughout the arctic region surrounding the North Pole. The limits of their range are determined by the ice pack of the Arctic Ocean and the landfast ice of surrounding coastal areas. Bears have been reported as far south as the southern tips of Greenland and Iceland. During the winter, polar bears will range along the southern edge of the ice pack or northern edge of ice formed off the coasts of the continents. Pregnant females will overwinter on the coastlines where denning habitat is available for bearing young. During the summer, bears will remain at the edge of the receding ice pack or on islands and coastal regions that retain landfast ice. Six different populations are recognized as: Wrangel Island and western Alaska, northern Alaska, the Canadian Arctic archipelago, Greenland, Svalbard-Franz Josef Land, and Central Siberia.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); arctic ocean (Native )
Other Geographic Terms: holarctic
- DeMaster, D., I. Stirling. 1981. *Ursus maritimus*. Mammalian Species, 145: 1-7.
- Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.