The life expectancy of a polar bear living in its natural habitat is 15 to 18 years. A polar bear living in captivity can live to be 30 years old.
The oldest polar bear living in the wild died at age 32. The oldest polar bear living in captivity was a female who died at age 43 in 1991. Polar bears die of starvation when they become unable to hunt because they are too old or are hurt due to fights or accidents. Some that are hurt may die from their injuries. Scientists are unable to research their causes of death because carcasses of dead polar bears are rarely found in their natural habitats.