Kara Sea (KS)

Population size and status are unknown.

Status table outtake

Size Sea ice metrics Human-caused removals 2010–2014
Estimate /
95% CI
Year Method Change in spring ice retreat / Change in fall ice advance (days per decade) Change in summer sea ice area (percent change per decade) 5-yr mean Last year
Potential Actual Potential Actual
Unknown  -9.2/7.6-18.6 NA NA
See also the complete table (all subpopulations)

Comments, vulnerabilities and concerns

There has been no legal hunting in the Kara Sea area since 1957. Amount of poaching unknown.

Status and delineation

Kara Sea subpopulation mapThe Kara Sea area. See also the complete map (all subpopulations).

This Kara Sea subpopulation overlaps in the west with the Barents Sea subpopulation (BS) in the area to the east of Franz Josef Land and includes the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. Data for KS and BS, in the vicinity of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, are mainly based on dated aerial surveys and den counts (Parovshivkov 1965, Belikov and Matveev 1983, Uspenski 1989, Belikov et al. 1991, Belikov and Gorbunov 1991, Belikov 1993). Telemetry studies of movements have been done throughout the area, but data to define the eastern boundary are incomplete (Belikov et al. 1998, Mauritzen et al. 2002). Using polar bear samples from KS from the 1990s, at a global level, polar bears in KS belong to the Eastern Polar Basin genetic cluster (together with polar bears from Barents Sea, Laptev Sea; directional gene flow suggests substantial directional gene flow (29-fold difference) from the Eastern Polar Basin to the Western Polar Basin (Peacock et al. 2015).


Belikov, S.E., Chelintsev, N.G., Kalyakin, V.N., Romanov, A.A., and Uspensky, S.M. 1991. Results of aeriel counts of the polar bear in the Soviet Arctic in 1988. In: Proceedings of the Tenth Working Meeting of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. pp. 75-79.

Belikov, S.E. 1993. The polar bear. In Bears. Moscow, Nauka. pp. 420-478.

Belikov, S.E., Garner, G.W., Wiig, O., Boltunov, A.N., and Gorbunov, Yu.A. 1998. Polar bears of the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago of the Russian Arctic. Ursus 10: 33-40.

Belikov, S.E. and Gorbunov, Y.A. 1991. Distribution and migrations of the polar bear in the Soviet Arctic in relation to ice conditions. In Proceedings of the Tenth Working Meeting of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. pp. 70-74.

Belikov, S. E. and Matveev, L. G. 1983. Distribution and number of polar bears and their dens on Franz-Josef Land. Pp. 84-85 In Rare Mammals of USSR and their Protection. Materials of the III All-Union Meeting, Moscow, USSR. (In Russian).

Mauritzen, M., Derocher, A.E., Wiig, O., Belikov, S.E., Boltunov, A.N., Hansen, E., and Garner, G.W. 2002. Using satellite telemetry to define spatial population structure in polar bears in the Norwegian and western Russian Arctic. Journal of Applied Ecology 39: 79-90.

Parovshivkov, V.Y. 1965. Present status of the polar bear population of Franz Josef Land. Pp. 237-242 In Marine Mammals. Nauka, Moscow. (In Russian).

Uspenski, S. M. 1989. The polar bear. Agropromizdat, Moscow, USSR. (In Russian).