Polar bear (Ursus maritimus)
Where Listed: WHEREVER FOUND
Polar bears are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which prohibits the take (i.e., harass, hunt, capture, or kill) of all marine mammals. Please click the link provided after "For more information" to access the Service’s Marine Mammals Management Polar Bear website. Throughout the Arctic, polar bears are known by a variety of common names, including nanook, nanuq, ice bear, sea bear, isbjorn, white bears, and beliy medved. Genetic research has confirmed that polar bears evolved from grizzly (brown) bears (Ursus arctos) 250 to 300 thousand years ago (Cronin et al. 1991, p. 2990; Talbot and Shields 1996a, p. 574). Only in portions of northern Canada and northern Alaska do the ranges of polar bears and grizzly bears overlap. Polar bears are the largest of the living bear species. Polar bears are carnivorous and an upper level predator of the Arctic marine ecosystem. Polar bears prey heavily throughout their range on ringed seals (Phoca hispida) and, to a lesser extent, bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) and in some locales, other seal species. Polar bears are characterized by a late age at sexual maturity, small litter sizes, and extended parental investment in raising young, factors that combine to contribute to a very low reproductive rate. Reproduction in the female polar bear is similar to that in other ursids (bears). Females generally mature and breed for the first time at 4 or 5 years and give birth at 5 or 6 years of age. Litters of two cubs are most common, but litters of three cubs are seen sporadically across the Arctic.
- States/US Territories in which the Polar bear, Entire is known to or is believed to occur: Alaska
- US Counties in which the Polar bear, Entire is known to or is believed to occur: View All
- USFWS Refuges in which the Polar bear, Entire is known to occur:
Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
- Countries in which the the Polar bear, Entire is known to occur: Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia
- Additional species information
|Status||Date Listed||Lead Region||Where Listed|
|05/15/2008||Alaska Region (Region 7)||Entire|
» Federal Register Documents
|04/19/2012||77 FR 23432 23449||Special Rule for the Polar Bear: Proposed rule; availability of draft environmental assessment.|
|12/16/2008||73 FR 76249 76269||Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Special Rule for the Polar Bear|
|05/15/2008||73 FR 28306 28318||Special Rule for the Polar Bear; Interim Final Rule|
|02/20/2013||78 FR 11766 11788||Special Rule for the Polar Bear Under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act|
|Date||Title||Plan Action Status||Plan Status|
|07/08/2015||Polar Bear Draft Conservation Management Plan||Recovery efforts in progress, but no implementation information yet to display||Conservation Strategy|
|Date||Citation Page||Title||Document Type|
|07/06/2015||80 FR 38458 38459||Notice of Availability of Draft Polar Bear Conservation Management Plan||
» Critical Habitat
|Date||Citation Page||Title||Document Type||Status|
|12/07/2010||75 FR 76086 76137||Designation of Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) in the United States; Final Rule||Final Rule||Not Required|
|10/29/2009||74 FR 56058 56086||Designation of Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) in the United States; Proposed Rule||Proposed Rule||Not Required|
To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab
» Conservation Plans
No conservation plans have been created for Polar bear.
» Life History
No Life History information has been entered into this system for this species.
» Other Resources
NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.
ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.
FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.