How Many Polar Bears Are Left?
As we all know, polar bears are an endangered species. So, one of the questions we get asked most often here at polarbear-world.com is “How Many Polar Bears Are Left?”
It’s hard to give an exact answer – the polar bears can’t take part in a census! But the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that there are around 26,000 polar bears left.
It’s a rough estimate but scientists are 95% certain that there are somewhere between 22,000 and 31,000 polar bears populating the Arctic regions of our Earth.
If you’ve read our article about where to see polar bears in the wild you’ll know that polar bears can be found in Russia (Yakutiya, Krasnoyarsk, West Siberia and North European Russia), the USA (Alaska), Canada (Labrador, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario, Québec and Yukon), Norway (Svalbard and Jan Mayen) and Denmark (Greenland).
There is by no means an even distribution of polar bears among these subpopulations – the populations found in each of these regions are wildly different, some with more than 2,000 bears while others would be home to less than 200.
Here you can find a summary of each of these subpopulations of polar bears and get an idea of the numbers of bears living in each region.
The data used in the table from the polar bear specialist group of the IUCN is from 2019 so no doubt things are slightly different today, but at least the table gives you a relative idea of the sizes of each subpopulation.
Of course, there are also still a few polar bears in captivity, but their relatively small numbers would not have a dramatic effect on the overall number of polar bears still left.
While 26,000 polar bears still sounds like quite a lot of bears, compare that figure to the 7.674 billion people who populate the Earth.
The huge growth in human population over fairly recent years has definitely contributed to the global climate crisis that is directly impacting polar bears and decreasing their population numbers.