/ ©: Jon Aars / NPI

Living with polar bears

How northern communities are keeping polar bears and people safe from conflict
Conflict between polar bears and people is increasing. As sea ice decreases, the bears are spending more time on shore.

Polar bears on land are hungry bears—until the ice returns, along with their seal-hunting platform, the bears will look for food wherever they can, including the towns and villages of the Arctic.

Here’s how communities are living safely alongside the Arctic’s top predator.


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WWF works on polar bear conflict around the pole.

Polar bear safety

 / ©: WWF / Spitsbergen Travel


A polar bear’s keen sense of smell will lead it to garbage dumps, stored meat, and unlucky sled dogs. Securing or removing things that smell like food gives bears fewer reasons to stick around.


WWF works with communities and schools to increase awareness about polar bear behaviour and share tools to keep people and polar bears safe.


Rubber bullets, air horns, flares, even a whack on the nose with a stick—teaching bears to fear humans can be highly effective at keeping them away from settlements.

Going on patrol for polar bears

Community polar bear patrols keep curious, hungry bears away from town, while supporting research. Join a Russian patrol on their yearly expedition to monitor polar bears and their dens.
Russia’s Umky Patrol was established in 2006 with the support of WWF. Today, there are more than a dozen patrols in 3 countries.

 / ©: naturepl.com / Steven Kazlowski / WWF
© naturepl.com / Steven Kazlowski / WWF

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