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‘Most Polar Bear Subpopulations Will Continue to Decline’: A Reassessment of Polar Bears Finds the Animal Is Still Threatened

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has wrapped its latest research into the status of polar bears. The agency is required by law to check in with animals as part of the Endangered Species Act. Their latest findings show that the species is still threatened.

According to a press release from the FWS, this is the second time they’ve checked in on polar bears since it was first listed as threatened in 2008. The new research shows no improvement from the last analysis. Researchers say they are concerned about the melting sea ice.

Researchers say polar bears rely heavily on sea ice for survival, and the continued loss of sea ice is a major problem for the species. The report found, “Future projections portray the likely effect of continued warming will be that most polar bear subpopulations will decline or continue to decline.”

There are 19 subpopulations of polar bears found around the world. Two of those call Alaska home, where the FWS did their research. They estimate there are about 26,000 polar bears worldwide, but finding an exact number can be challenging.

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