• Wednesday , 23 May 2018

Heartbreaking Video of Starving Polar Bear Illustrates Devastating Effects of Global Warming

Code Canyon

New footage has emerged of a starving polar bear surrounded by dry land. The heartbreaking video, picked up by National Geographic, sees the malnourished animal struggling to walk as it searches for food.

Biologist-turned-wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen posted the video to his Instagram account on December 5. The clip was recorded after he and a series of filmmakers from the conservation group Sea Legacy arrived in the Baffin Islands during summer, and came across the devastating sight.

Growing up in Canada’s far north, Nicklen has seen thousands of bears in the wild. But this particular scene was easily one of the most distressing. “We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” he said. The animal appears gravely thin, its muscles limp. After unsuccessfully searching through a trashcan for something to eat, the polar bear collapses back to the ground.

My entire @Sea_Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear. It’s a soul-crushing scene that still haunts me, but I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy. This is what starvation looks like. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death. When scientists say polar bears will be extinct in the next 100 years, I think of the global population of 25,000 bears dying in this manner. There is no band aid solution. There was no saving this individual bear. People think that we can put platforms in the ocean or we can feed the odd starving bear. The simple truth is this—if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems. This large male bear was not old, and he certainly died within hours or days of this moment. But there are solutions. We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth—our home—first. Please join us at @sea_legacy as we search for and implement solutions for the oceans and the animals that rely on them—including us humans. Thank you your support in keeping my @sea_legacy team in the field. With @CristinaMittermeier #turningthetide with @Sea_Legacy #bethechange #nature #naturelovers This video is exclusively managed by Caters News. To license or use in a commercial player please contact info@catersnews.com or call +44 121 616 1100 / +1 646 380 1615”

A post shared by Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen) on

Naturally, apprehensive members of the Internet have been asking why Nicklen did not intervene. “Of course, that crossed my mind,” he commented. “But it’s not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat.” Not to mention it’s also illegal to feeding wild polar bears in Canada. Of his choice to film the bear, he says he didn’t wish for it to die in vain.

“When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death,” he added. Nicklen hopes the footage will serve as a warning about the consequences of global warming.

See more of Nicklen’s work at his Instagram.

Lead image by Jay Mantri.

[via National Geographic]


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