The polar bear is classified as a vulnerable species, with 8 of the 19 polar bear subpopulations in decline. For decades, unrestricted hunting[clarification needed] raised international concern for the future of the species; populations have rebounded after controls and quotas began to take effect. For thousands of years, the polar bear has been a key figure in the material, spiritual, and cultural life of Arctic indigenous peoples, and the hunting of polar bears remains important in their cultures.
The IUCN now lists global warming as the most significant threat to the polar bear, primarily because the melting of its sea ice habitat reduces its ability to find sufficient food. The IUCN states, "If climatic trends continue polar bears may become extirpated from most of their range within 100 years." The polar bear was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act by the United States Department of the Interior in 2008.
The polar bear is often regarded as a marine mammal because it spends many months of the year at... [continues]
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