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February 27, 2018
By Susan Crockford, Ph.D.

Polar bear numbers are stable or have grown since 2005 and the population appears healthy overall.

From the Executive Summary:

  • Global polar bear numbers have been stable or risen slightly since 2005, despite the fact that summer sea ice since 2007 hit levels not expected until mid-century: the predicted 67% decline in polar bear numbers did not occur.
  • Abundant prey and adequate sea ice in spring and early summer since 2007 appear to explain why global polar bear numbers have not declined, as might have been expected as a result of low summer sea ice levels.
  •  A just-released report of Southern Beaufort Sea bears having difficulty finding prey in 2014– 2016 suggests that the thick ice events that have impacted the region every ten years or so since the 1960s have continued despite reduced summer sea ice.