Like many Arctic and Antarctic species, polar bears are threatened, and are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN. Since polar bears rely on sea ice to hunt and ultimately build up their fat reserves for the challenging winter months, the fact that its melting due to global warming greatly diminishes their chances of survival. Likewise, polar bears are also threatened by pollutants, such as pesticides, which manage to make their way into the food chain.
Polar bears are listed as vulnerable due to their decreasing numbers. The main threats they face include changes in sea ice due to climate change, which is predicted to have a stronger impact over the next 100 years, exposure to pollutants, and limited access to prey, especially during summer. Conservation efforts are closely connected to efforts to effectively deal with the climate change that is affecting the Arctic region.