Canada's Polar Bear Subpopulations

Canada is home to about 16,000 polar bears, which is approximately two-thirds of the world’s total estimated population of  26,000 (95% Cl: 22,000-31,000) individuals. The global population is divided into 19 subpopulations, of which 13 are managed or co-managed by Canada. Over 90% of the polar bears in Canada occur in two of Canada’s northernmost territories: Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. 

Subpopulation details

Detailed Map

Baffin Bay
Greenland, Nunavut
Historic Annual Removal (2019-2020):
144
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
142.4
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
2826
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Likely Stable
 
IK Assessment:
Stable
 
Year of Population Estimate:
2012-13
 
Davis Strait
Greenland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut and Québec
Historic Annual Removal (2019-2020):
77
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
67.6
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
2158
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Likely Increased
 
IK Assessment:
Increased
 
Year of Estimate:
2007
 
Foxe Basin
Nunavut, Québec
Annual Removal (2019-2020):
110
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
109.0
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
2585
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Stable
 
IK Assessment:
Increased
 
Year of Estimate:
2009-2010
 
Gulf of Boothia
Nunavut
Historic Annual Removal (2019-2020):
70
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
65.2
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
1525
 
Recent Trend:
Stable
 
IK Assessment:
Increased
 
Year of Estimate:
2015-2017
 
Kane Basin
Greenland, Nunavut
Historic Annual Removal (2019-2020):
10
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
8.6
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
357
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Increased
 
IK Assessment:
Increased
 
Year of Estimate:
2013-2014
 
Lancaster Sound
Nunavut
Historic Annual Removal (2019-2020):
70
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
77.8
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
2541
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Uncertain
 
IK Assessment:
Increased
 
Year of Estimate:
1995-1997
 
M'Clintock Channel
Nunavut
Historic Annual Removal (2019-2020):
7
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
9.8
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
716
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Increased
 
IK Assessment:
Stable
 
Year of Estimate:
2014-2016
 
Northern Beaufort Sea
Northwest Territories, Nunavut
Historic Annual Removal (2019-2020):
25
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
37.8
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
1291
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Likely Stable
 
IK Assessment:
Stable
 
Year of Estimate:
2006
 
Norwegian Bay
Nunavut
Annual Removal (2019-2020):
0
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
1.2
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
203
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Uncertain
 
IK Assessment:
Stable
 
Year of Estimate:
1997
 
Southern Beaufort Sea
Northwest Territories, Yukon, United States
Annual Removal (2019-2020):
15
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
22
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
1215
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Likely Declined
 
IK Assessment:
Stable
 
Year of Estimate:
2006
 
Southern Hudson Bay
Nunavut, Ontario, Québec
Annual Removal (2019-2020):
33
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
34.6
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
780
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Likely Declined
 
IK Assessment:
Stable/Increased
 
Year of Estimate:
2016
 
Viscount Melville Sound
Northwest Territories, Nunavut
Annual Removal (2019-2020):
0
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
2.2
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
161
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Uncertain
 
IK Assessment:
Increased
 
Year of Estimate:
1992
 
Western Hudson Bay
Manitoba, Nunavut
Annual Removal (2019-2020):
20
 
Historical Annual Removal (5 yr mean):
29.8
 
Most Recent Population Estimate:
842
 
Recent Trend (scientific):
Likely Declined
 
IK Assessment:
Increased
 
Year of Estimate:
2016
 

 

For more detailed information related to each subpopulation, please view the full 2021 PBTC Status Table