Polar bears have a lifespan ranging from 25 to 43 years. Bears in the wild have much shorter lives than in captivity, with most wild bears only living into their late 20s or early 30s.
As of 2015, the oldest known polar bear was a female at the Detroit Zoo who lived to be 43 years and 10 months old. The runners-up lived to be 42 and 41, respectively. These 40-year-old bears were unusual, because most polar bears experience medical conditions related to old age by the time they are in their 30s. For example, a 32-year-old polar bear at the San Francisco Zoo died in May of 2015 of old age; she suffered from arthritis and had difficulty catching fish.