The primary objective of our polar bear program is to ensure that polar bear populations in Alaska remain a healthy, functioning component of the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas ecosystems. Alaska shares the Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear stock with Canada and the Bering/Chukchi Seas polar bear stock with the Russian Federation. Both populations are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and have been listed as Threatened since 2008 under the Endangered Species Act due to the threat posed by loss of sea-ice due to climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
and inadequacy of existing mechanisms to curtail that threat.

A polar bear walks across ice, with the shore in the background.
A collection of polar bear-related science and projects.
A polar bear walks through ice fog across the winter landscape.
A four-part story of a year in the life of a female polar bear along the coast of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska, highlighting her biology and behavior in winter, spring, summer, and fall.
viewed from an airplane, a family of 3 polar bears walk across a snowy landscape.
The great white bears that walk the land and sea ice of northeastern Alaska and northwestern Canada make up the southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation of polar bears in the circumpolar North. Indigenous peoples have lived here for thousands of years with Nanuuq, the Inupiaq name for the polar bear;...