Large carnivores - those that are at the apex or top of the food chain - are particularly sensitive indicators of the health of an ecosystem... in this case, the Arctic.
And of all of the wildlife species in the Arctic, the polar bear is perhaps the most fitting icon for this ecoregion.
Its amazing adaptations to life in the rugged Arctic environment and dependence on sea ice make them so impressive, and yet so vulnerable.
This is why polar bears help us gain an understanding of what is happening throughout the Arctic, as a polar bear at risk may signal something is wrong elsewhere in the arctic marine ecosystem.
All recent indicators show that sea ice in the Arctic is melting at an alarming rate, a problem that needs to be addressed immediately if polar bears, and other species unique to the region, are to survive.