Learn How International Polar Bear Day Helps Save Lives

Every February 27, International Polar Bear Day calls our attention to the world’s largest and perhaps most beloved bear species. It’s hard to find someone who isn’t fascinated by these amazing mammals — no one can forget Siku’s adorable antics — but how much do you truly know about polar bears and the current threats they face?

There are only about 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears living in the Arctic, where their territory ranges through five countries, including Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and the United States. In the United States, polar bears are listed as a threatened species, but all populations are being challenged by a shrinking habitat.

Polar Bears in Their Natural Habitat

closeup of a polar bear

Copyright BJ Kirschhoffer/polarbearsinternational.org

A single bear in evening light on the shores of the Hudson Bay outside Churchill, Manitoba.

polar bear walking on ice

Copyright BJ Kirschhoffer/polarbearsinternational.org

A polar bear waiting for the Hudson Bay to freeze stands on a small piece of sea ice in October. Taken outside of Churchill, Manitoba.

mother polar bear and two cubs

Copyright Dan Guravich/polarbearsinternational.org

A mother and two cubs search for shelter from the wind and snow.

polar bear coming out of the water onto the ice

Copyright Dan Guravich/polarbearsinternational.org

The strength of a polar bear is impressive. This lone bear is hauling himself out of the water onto a pan of sea ice.

a mother polar bear and her cub walk through the arctic in the evening

Copyright Dan Guravich/polarbearsinternational.org

A mother and cub walk in the warm glow of the arctic evening light.

polar bear walking through the broken sea ice

Copyright Dan Guravich/polarbearsinternational.org

A large polar bear ambles through the broken sea ice on the shore of the Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba.

polar bear bobbing among broken sea ice

Copyright Dan Guravich/polarbearsinternational.org

A polar bear breaks through the sea ice while hunting seals.

“Climate warming is literally pulling the rug out from under polar bears’ feet — dramatically reducing the summer extent and year-round volume of sea ice habitat bears require to thrive,” says Geoff York, head of arctic species conservation for the World Wildlife Fund’s global Arctic program.

Unfortunately, there are many misunderstandings about polar bears that can make it difficult to get them help.

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