How Long Do Polar Bears Live?

Joe Reyes/Flickr/CC-BY-2.0

A polar bear can live up to 18 years on average in the wild. In captivity, polar bears have been known to live up to 30 years.

There are many reasons that polar bears have a relatively short life span compared to humans. Native to the Arctic, polar bears face many issues including warming, melting of ice, poaching and industrialization, all which can lead to death. These magnificent creatures are becoming endangered according to the U.S. Department of the Interior as the numbers are rapidly declining. Polar bears also reproduce slower than most other mammals, which also plays a role in the threat of the species becoming extinct. In captivity, such as zoos, many of environmental factors are nonexistent, which allows the bears to live longer lives. The record for the oldest polar bear stands at 42. This bear was kept in a Canadian zoo.