Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

Bear Facts

Photo courtesy of Scott Schliebe / USFWS

  • Around 25-27,000 left in the wild.
  • Threatened by pollution and climate change.
  • Surprisingly, polar bear skin is black and their fur is transparent. Their hair shafts reflect the light, making their fur look a creamy white.
  • The polar bear is the largest land carnivore alive in the world today.
  • Found throughout the Arctic region of USA, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia.
  • They can swim 50 miles without resting and can stay under water for as long as two minutes.
  • Their feet are much larger than those of other bears – acting as paddles in the water and snowshoes on the ice.
  • They are more likely to overheat than get cold and are often seen lying flat out on the ice to cool down.
  • Lifespan in the wild is around 25 years.
  • Cubs stay with their mothers for around 2 ½ years.
  • CITES Appendix II.