October 5, 2015. Life / The IUCN Red List
The polar bear is the largest living land carnivore today. It lives throughout the ice-covered waters of the circumpolar Arctic.
Jane Smart, Craig Hilton-Taylor, Russel A. Mittermeier.
Polar Bear: Vulnerable (The IUCN Red List)
Climate change is impacting polar bears and their sea-ice habitat by affecting access to their prey and to den areas. Persistent organic pollutants—toxins that accumulate through the food chain—also pose a threat to polar bears because when accumulated at high levels, they are known to cause neurological, reproductive and immunological changes.
Although in some places over-harvesting is still a concern, the hunting of polar bears is now controlled.
The ‘International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears’ which allows local hunters to harvest polar bears sustainably and outlaws hunting from aircraft and large ships has been signed by a number of countries. The main concern for the survival of polar bears is the threats caused by climate change. The complexity of these issues will demand international cooperation if this species is to survive.
This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Nature Series Book The IUCN Red List (2014).