Polar Bear Stories

  • Why the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge needs more permanent protection

    March 04, 2021

    Climate change is rapidly changing the Arctic, and its implications are global. More oil to burn would only fuel the climate crisis and put the Refuge and everything living within it at risk from toxic spills and mishaps. Now is the time for bold action that permanently protects the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    landscape view of frozen icy ground with a snowy mountain range in the background
  • Tatyana Minenko, polar bear patrol team leader

    Every fall, the Ryrkaipiy polar bear patrol, with the support of WWF Russia, works to protect the community and prevent human-wildlife conflict. Tatyana Minenko has been leading the patrol team since 2006. That’s when the climate crisis increased conflict in her village.

    Closeup of a woman looking through binnoculars, wearing yellow gloves and a white hat, blurry background
  • 5 species that stand to lose the most if the US allows drilling in the Arctic Refuge

    August 17, 2020

    The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is located in one of the largest remaining natural areas on the planet: Alaska. The species that call the refuge home have been protected from the risks of unsustainable development for decades, but now the US government is moving forward with plans to open the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge to allow for oil and gas drilling.

    polar bears rest on an ice pack
  • Polar bears, climate crisis, and oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    The Arctic Refuge has been a place undisturbed by development. But in 2017 Congress approved opening the Coastal Plain of the Refuge to allow for oil and gas drilling. WWF has been vocal in its opposition for a host of reasons, and there is one significant bit of logic even Fish and Wildlife agrees with—the climate crisis makes the future of the region uncertain. Oil and gas development only compounds the problem.

    Two young polar bears
  • Imperiled polar bears face new threat in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

    In some areas of the Arctic, female polar bears are more frequently choosing to build their maternity dens on land, rather than sea ice. The land provides the stability and security that sea ice no longer can—at least until human activity comes into the picture.

    Polar bear and cub
  • WWF's Elisabeth Kruger on polar bears, climate change, and indigenous communities

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2018
    Kruger leads WWF’s efforts to help polar bears and other Arctic marine mammals coexist alongside people in an increasingly warmer and ice-free Arctic.
    Portrait of Elisabeth Kruger
  • Lack of winter sea ice disrupts life in the Arctic

    March 23, 2018

    It’s the second-worst winter for sea ice in the Arctic. As this rapid warming trend continues, entire ecosystems are unraveling and the consequences are impacting daily life in the Arctic as well as life in coastal communities thousands of miles away.

     
    diomede island arctic
  • One Arctic town's very busy polar bear patrol

    February 26, 2018

    In 2007, nine polar bear conflicts were registered in all of Greenland. By 2017, there were 21 conflicts between August and December in the village of Ittoqqortoormiit alone. In almost all of the 21 cases, the local polar bear patrol was called to ensure that the bears were scared away from the community and kept under observation.

    polar bear patrol in Greenland
  • 3 things you should know about January’s record-low Arctic sea ice

    February 22, 2018

    January 2018 brought record-low sea ice cover to the Arctic, according to new data released by the US government. That’s bad news for the ocean, wildlife, and local communities that rely on both for survival.

    Ice melting in Bering Strait
  • Trump Administration to roll back crucial Arctic protections

    January 05, 2018

    The Arctic Ocean—the pristine home to bowhead whales, gray whales, polar bears, walruses, and other magnificent wildlife, along with many indigenous communities—could potentially lose crucial protections from risky offshore oil and gas drilling.

    polar bears rest on an ice pack
  • America’s Arctic could soon open up to a new wave of risky offshore oil and gas drilling

    July 20, 2017

    Every five years, the US determines where oil and gas companies can purchase leases for offshore drilling. The most recent plan excluded the Arctic, but the Trump administration wants to change that.

    Arctic ocean
  • US government releases a new plan to protect polar bears

    January 09, 2017

    The Polar Bear Conservation Management Plan, which focuses on actions for the two U.S. subpopulations in Alaska, stresses the importance of climate change mitigation in curbing the loss of the polar bear’s sea ice habitat.

    Polar bear with two cubs
  • US permanently protects some of the Arctic's most important marine areas

    December 20, 2016

    Just one week after scientists warned of unprecedented change brought on by warming in the Arctic, President Obama announced permanent protection for 115 million acres of federal waters in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Including previous presidential withdrawals, today's action protects nearly 125 million acres in the offshore Arctic from future oil and gas activity.

    sea ice in the Arctic
  • Report warns of unprecedented struggles in a warming Arctic

    December 13, 2016

    The Arctic is seeing unprecedented declines in sea ice and snow cover triggered by abnormally warm temperatures, according to a new report, the Arctic Report Card, released by the US government.

    Melting ice along the Bering Strait
  • Record low sea ice impacts polar bears

    December 07, 2016

    As the planet warms, we’re seeing a startling loss of Arctic sea ice. This is a major concern when it comes to wildlife conservation—particularly for polar bears. Dr. Klenzendorf shares her experience observing polar bears in Churchill.

    polar bear walking on ice
  • US drilling plans spare Arctic’s federal waters

    November 18, 2016

    America’s Arctic will be free of new offshore oil and gas drilling, at least for the next five years, and that’s good news for people and wildlife. WWF and 225,000 of our activists opposed drilling in the Arctic’s Beaufort and Chuckchi seas due to the tremendous risk to indigenous communities, wildlife, and their environment.

    Polar Bear Swimming
  • Why do polar bears have white fur? And nine other polar bear facts

    Who doesn't love the big, burly white bears of the north? Polar bears—at the top of the food chain and vital to the health of the Arctic marine environment—are important to the cultures and economies of Arctic peoples. 

     

    Polar bear with two cubs
  • A design firm helps polar bear experts get creative with tracking technology

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2016
    When WWF polar bear expert Elisabeth Kruger was organizing a workshop to brainstorm new designs for polar bear tracking devices, she wanted to make sure the event generated the most interesting, unexpected, and—hopefully—groundbreaking designs possible.
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  • Arctic sea ice hits second-lowest extent on record

    September 16, 2016

    The Arctic’s summer sea ice appears to have hit its lowest extent of the year, putting pressure on the region’s diverse wildlife. Ice covered only 1.6 million square miles on Sept. 10, and 2016 is now tied with 2007 for the second-lowest sea ice extent on record, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center.

    sea ice in the Arctic
  • Man standing on glacier
  • America the beautiful: a look at some of the country's most fascinating animals

    June 29, 2016

    From bison herds in the Northern Great Plains to polar bears in the far north of Alaska, wild creatures need our help to not only survive, but to thrive. WWF works with the government, businesses, universities, local communities, and other conservation organizations to ensure we can protect animal populations and their habitats. Take a look at a few of these amazing species found in the United States

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  • Making a better bear tracker

    June 23, 2016

    WWF has teamed up with global design company IDEO to brainstorm an innovative solution to more effectively gather information about polar bears.

    polar bears on ice
  • Collaborating to Count Arctic Seals and Polar Bears

    May 11, 2016

    American and Russian scientists have now teamed up, with some help from WWF, to develop the region’s first comprehensive and reliable population estimates of ringed and bearded seals and polar bears.

    polar bear jumps over water
  • 5 remarkable animal moms

    The animal kingdom is flush with moms that take the time to teach their babies how to find food and protect themselves against the elements.

    Emperor penguin babies