Polar Bears Can Be Found in Which Countries?

Caitlin Dempsey

Updated:

Polar bears (Ursus maritimes) are a vulnerable species with a habitat range mostly within the Arctic Circle.  A member of the bear family, polar bears take their common name because of the proximity of their habitat to the North Pole (polar, meaning “relating to the North or South Pole”).  

Polar bears are only found near the Arctic circle and are not native to the South Pole.  Polar bears are the largest member of the bear family and are the largest carnivorous land animals. According to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), there are only about 20,000-25,000 polar bears in the world, making them a threatened species.

Which Countries Have Polar Bears?

There are five countries included in the range of polar bears.   Countries with polar bears are:

  • Denmark (Greenland)
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • United States
  • Canada.  

Within the United States, polar bears are only found within the state of Alaska.  Polars are not found within the borders of Denmark but rather in Greenland which is an autonomous Danish territory.  In Norway, polar bears can be found in the Svalbard Archipelago north of the mainland of the country.

Map of Polar Bear Range

This map shows the range of the polar bear in and around the Arctic Circle.  A marine animal, the ocean based portion of the habitat range is shaded in light green.  The darker green shows the polar bear habitat range on land.

Polar bear range. Map adapted from MediaWiki and IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group
Polar bear range. Map adapted from MediaWiki and IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.

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