Polar bear populations were recently considered to be stable or growing in some areas. In 1993, the estimated world population was 21,470 to 28,370 bears. In 1972, the United States Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibited all hunting, except for subsistence, of polar bears in the U.S. In 1973 the United States, Russia, Norway, Canada, and Denmark came to an agreement to protect polar bear habitat, limit hunting, and cooperate on research. Polar bear populations are currently threatened by trends in global warming, which continues to decrease the extent of their habitat (pack ice) and their prey base. In 2008 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed polar bears as threatened. The IUCN lists Ursus maritimus as vulnerable.
US Federal List: threatened
CITES: appendix ii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable
- Hilton-Taylor, C. 2000. "The 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). Accessed Dec 5, 2001 at http://www.redlist.org/search/details.php?species=22823.