If you're hoping to see a polar bear in the wild, you'd need to go to one of the following countries:
- United States (Alaska)
- Canada, including the provinces and territories of Manitoba, Newfoundland, Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon Territory)
- Russian Federation
Polar bears are native to the countries above, and occasionally are found in Iceland. Click here for a polar bear range map from the IUCN.
Why Do Polar Bears Live in Such Cold Areas?
Polar bears are suited to cold areas by having thick fur and a layer of fat (that is 2-4" thick) to keep them warm. But the main reason they live in these cold areas is their prey.
Polar bears feed on ice-loving species, such as seals (ringed and bearded seals are favorites), and sometimes walruses and whales. They stalk their prey by waiting patiently near holes in the ice. The range of polar bears is "limited by the southern extent of sea ice" (Source: IUCN).
Ice is essential for the survival of polar bears - so they are a species that is threatened by global warming. You can help polar bears by reducing your carbon footprint with activities such as walking, riding a bike or using public transportation instead of driving; combining errands so that you use your car less; conserving energy and water; and buying locally.