Summary of polar bear population status per 2019

The present table has been developed during 2019, based on new criteria for status assessments. This status table will be updated whenever there are new information available that is considered credible and valid by the group, but not more frequent than once per year.

Explanations for sea ice metric method here.

Press the subpopulation hyperlink and more information will appear.


Status table criteria (pdf)
Status table 2019 (pdf)
Status report 2019 (pdf)


Subpopulation 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)
Arctic BasinUnknown   Data deficientData deficient-9.8/14.3-7.4N/A 
Baffin Bay2826
Genetic C-R2012-2013Data deficientData deficient-6.1/3.9-18.9137.8135.8 (4.8%)
Barents Sea2644
Distance sampling2004Data deficientLikely stable (2004 to 2015)-16.0/25.2-19.6N/A 
Chukchi Sea2937
Physical C-R with density extrapolation2016Data deficientLikely stable (2008 to 2016)-6.3/6.8-25.958 (changed to 85 in July 2018)15.4 (0.5%) in U.S. + approx. 32 (1.1%) in Russia
Davis Strait2158
Physical C-R2007Data deficientLikely stable (2007 to 2016)-5.6/6.7-19.2QC + 75.8 (NU & GL)84.4 (3.9%)
East GreenlandUnknown   Data deficientData deficient-7.0/8.4-7.964 (% of population unknown)65
Foxe Basin2585
Mark-recapture distance sampling2009-10Stable (1994 to 2010)Stable (1994 to 2010)-4.5/4.6-14.1QC + 117.2 (NU)103.8 (4.0%)
Gulf of Boothia1592
Physical C-R2000Likely stable (2000 to 2017)Likely stable (2000 to 2017)-8.0/6.6-13.672.461.8 (3.9%)
Kane Basin357
Genetic C-R2013-2014Data deficientLikely increased (1997 to 2014)-6.9/4.6-9.811.08.0 (2.2%)
Kara SeaUnknown   Data deficientData deficient-9.7/8.9-22.7N/A 
Lancaster Sound2541
Physical C-R1995-1997Data deficientData deficient-5.6/3.8-7.584.880.8 (3.2%)
Laptev SeaUnknown   Data deficientData deficient-6.7/7.2-17.5N/A 
M'Clintock Channel284
Physical C-R2000Very likely increased (2000 to 2016)Very likely increased (2000 to 2016)-4.2/4.7-9.08,87.8 (2.7%)
Northern Beaufort Sea980
Physical C-R2006Likely decreased (2006 to 2018)Likely decreased (2013 to 2018)-7.2/2.6-6.5142.2 (SB+NB)83 (SB+NB)
Norwegian Bay203
Physical C-R1997Data deficientData deficient-1.8/3.9- (1.0%)
Southern Beaufort Sea907
Physical C-R2010Likely decreased (1998 to 2010)Likely decreased (2001 to 2010)-9.7/8.6-25.3134.4 (SB+NB)62.4 (3.3%)
Southern Hudson Bay780
Mark-recapture distance sampling2016Very likely decreased (1986 to 2016)Likely decreased (2012 to 2016)-1.9/3.1-8.551.636.4 (4.7%)
Viscount Melville Sound161
Physical C-R1992Data deficientData deficient-5.5/7.1- (2.2%)
Western Hudson Bay842
Mark-recapture distance sampling2016Very likely decreased (1995 to 2016)Likely decreased (2011 to 2016)-5.9/3.2-21.831.629.6 (3.5%)