Steven Amstrup

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Steven Carl Amstrup
Born (1950-02-04)February 4, 1950
Fargo, North Dakota, United States
Residence Washington, D.C.
Fields Zoology, polar bear research
Institutions University of Wyoming
Alma mater University of Washington (1972)
University of Idaho (1975)
University of Alaska Fairbanks (1995)
Thesis Movements, distribution, and population dynamics of polar bears in the Beaufort Sea (1995)
Notable awards Indianapolis Prize (2012)
Bambi Award (2012)

Steven C. Amstrup is an American zoologist who studies bears, especially polar bears. He is the 2010 recipient of the Indianapolis Prize.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Steven Amstrup was born in Fargo, North Dakota, where he took an interest in bears at an early age.[2] He attended the University of Washington as an undergraduate, receiving his bachelor's degree in forestry in 1972.[3] In 1975, he graduated from the University of Idaho with a master's degree in wildlife management. He studied black bears in central Idaho for his master's thesis.[2] He earned his doctoral degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1995.[3]


In 1980, he began working for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska and Wyoming.[2] He also worked for the United States Geological Survey in the Arctic during his 30-year career, primarily studying polar bears in the Beaufort Sea.[4] In 2007 and 2008, Amstrup led a team of scientists whose reports led United States Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to list polar bears as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.[2] In 2010, he published an article in Nature finding that even if climate change led to complete melting of the polar ice packs, the ice could return if global temperatures subsequently cooled.[4][5] He has taught at the University of Wyoming as an adjunct professor since 2006.[6]

His contributions to polar bear conservation were honored in 2012, when the Indianapolis Zoo named him the winner of their biennial Indianapolis Prize.[1] Later the same year, he was presented with an Our Earth Bambi Award in Düsseldorf.[7]


After retiring in 2010, Amstrup became the chief scientist for Polar Bears International.[2] Having observed the effect of climate change on polar bears and their Arctic habitat during his career as a researcher, he now works as an advocate for polar bears and promotes climate change mitigation.[4][8]

Personal life[edit]

Amstrup is married. He and his wife are building an energy-efficient house in northeast Washington, D.C.[4]


External links[edit]