Polar Bear

Ursus maritimus

Polar bears are survival specialists in an extreme environment—the Arctic, where winter lasts six months and temperatures average -30ºF. Their large body size, layers of thick, hollow hair, and three to four inches of blubber provide insulation from the cold, in and out of the water.

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The bears’ streamlined shape, partially webbed forepaws, and buoyant layer of blubber help make them champion swimmers.

Polar bears depend completely upon the sea for their existence, spending most of their time on the pack ice from which they hunt their preferred prey. The polar bear is a skillful predator of seals, with the help of a keen sense of smell, powerful paws, and sharp claws.

Learn more: Through the use of assisted reproduction and sound scientific technologies, CREW scientists in the Animal Research Division are Saving Species with Science®.

Polar Bear Challenge

Join the Polar Bear Challenge! Click here to learn more!

Right here at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, a team of scientists is racing against the clock to save the polar bear. In partnership with zoos across North America, CREW researchers are working to save this iconic animal with science.

Through extensive cutting-edge research, including the non-invasive characterization of reproductive processes, the collection and cryopreservation of valuable genetic material, and the development and application of assisted reproduction technologies to overcome infertility, CREW scientists are working to create successful captive breeding programs and preserve irreplaceable genetics so that they are not lost forever.

Join us as we work to raise a total of $70,000 by December 31st for CREW’s Signature Polar Bear Conservation Project!

Fact File

Species @ Risk Image
Species Survival Plan Image
where to see themWhere to see them: Lords of the Arctic
heightHeight: 7 to 11 ft
weightWeight: Up to 1,500 lbs
life expectancyLife Expectancy: 20 yrs
habitatHabitat: Arctic ice and coastal shores
dietDiet: Primarily seals, some walrus, lemmings, lichens, mosses, and carrion
exclamationRisk Status: Species at Risk (IUCN—Vulnerable)