Phylogenetic analyses of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes have shown that polar bears captured the mitochondrial genome of brown bears some 160,00 years ago. This hybridization event likely led to an extinction of the original polar bear mitochondrial genome. However, parts of the mitochondrial DNA occasionally integrates into the nuclear genome, forming pseudogenes called numts (nuclear mitochondrial integrations). Screening the polar bear genome for numts, we identified only 13 such integrations. Analyses of whole-genome sequences from additional polar bears, brown and American black bears as well as the giant panda indicates that the discovered numts entered the bear lineage before the initial ursid radiation some 14 million years ago. Our findings suggests a low integration rate of numts in the bear lineage and a complete loss of the original polar bear mitochondrial genome.