East Greenland (EG)

Current and projected habitat decline, unknown population size and trend. Studies are ongoing since 2015.

Status table outtake

Subpopulation size Subpopulation trend Sea ice metrics 1979-2018 Human-caused removals 2013/2014–2017/2018
Estimate and uncertainity Method and type of evidence Year and citation Long term (approx 3 generations) Short term (approx 1 generation) Change in date of spring ice retreat / fall ice advance (days per decade) Change in summer sea ice area (percent change per decade) 5-year mean
Quota (bears per year) Actual (% of total population)
Unknown   Data deficientData deficient-7.0/8.4-7.964 (% of population unknown)65
See also the complete table (all subpopulations)

Comments, vulnerabilities and concerns

Reduction in sea ice habtait quality has led to changes in habitat use based on telemetry analsyes.

Status and delineation

East Greenland subpopulation mapThe East Greenland area. See also the complete map (all subpopulations).

Satellite-telemetry data show that polar bears range widely along the coast of eastern Greenland and in the pack ice in the Greenland Sea and Fram Strait (Born et al. 1997, 2009; Wiig et al. 2003; Laidre et al. 2013, 2015). Various studies have shown that there are resident groups in the region (Born 1995; Dietz et al. 2000; Sandell et al. 2001), and the East Greenland subpopulation (EG) is thought to have limited exchange with other subpopulations (Wiig 1995; Born et al. 2009). Although there is little evidence of genetic difference between subpopulations in the eastern Greenland and Svalbard-Franz Josef Land regions (Paetkau et al. 1999), satellite telemetry and movement of marked animals have detected minimal exchange between polar bears in EG and the Barents Sea subpopulation (BS) (Wiig 1995; Born et al. 1997, 2009; Wiig et al. 2003; Laidre et al. 2013). The polar bears in EG cluster with the Eastern Polar Basin genetic cluster, one of 4 global genetic clusters of polar bears (Peacock et al. 2015). Laidre et al. (2015) showed that due to multi-decadal sea ice loss within East Greenland, there have been changes in bears’ habitat use between the 1990s and 2000s. Adult females tracked in the 2000s used areas with significantly lower sea ice concentrations (10-15% lower) than adult females in the 1990s during winter. They were also located significantly closer (100-150 km) to open water in all seasons and spent approximately 2 months longer in areas with <60% sea ice concentration than bears in the 1990s. No inventories have been conducted to determine the size of the polar bear subpopulation in EG, however pilot studies were initiated in southeast Greenland in 2015 to collect data to inform an assessment (Laidre, unpublished data).


Reference list