Starving Polar Bear Captured On Camera In Heartbreaking Footage

Cheryl Sanders
December 10, 2017

Namely, animals. We recently saw a handsome video of a man hopping out of his vehicle to save a bunny from the Los Angeles wildfires, but the video photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy took after arriving in the Baffin Islands was much less hopeful.

Nicklen, who planned to address the video at his NY art gallery on Saturday, says that when he hears scientists say that polar bears will be extinct in the next hundred years, he thinks of thousands of the animals starving to death as they are in the video.

This week I posted a video of a starving bear.

The clip shows a dying, emaciated polar bear searching desperately for food, its skin hanging from its bones, its legs so weak it can hardly stand. "Bears are going to starve to". Animals that live in Arctic regions are, understandably, the first to suffer from climate change. Nicklen said he hopes the images help affect human behavior so that the bear will not have died in vain. And studies and government agencies continue to warn that climate change could make polar bears extinct by 2050.


"My entire Sea Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear", photographer Paul Nicklen wrote on social media after publishing the footage this week.

For polar bears, the loss of sea ice means the loss of hunting grounds. "We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth-our home-first".

After posting the video, Nicklen told National Geographic that "when scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like". Disappearing seals and ice make it more and more hard for the bears to hunt for food, and the melting of sea ice will only make the problem worse for this threatened species. "There is no band aid solution", Nicklen wrote on Instagram.

Nicklen told National Geographic he hadn't ever seen a bear in such bad condition before. There was no saving this individual bear.


The bear was not too old but it was frail and probably died within hours of being captured on the video, Nicklen said.

Ian Stirling, an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta who has specialized in polar bears for four decades, says the period that bears are able to feed has shortened by about three weeks, and that could be the reason why it was starved.

"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".

"We are a visual species", Nicklen told the Washington Post (paywall). Thank you your support in keeping my @sea_legacy team in the field.


"It's not like we travel around with 200-300 of pounds of seal meat when we're walking around in the Arctic", Nicklen said. Even then, the report found that polar bears were moving from ice to land earlier and staying on land longer, unhealthily extending the bears' fasting season. Their ice kingdom is rapidly vanishing, as tracked by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Feeding polar bears is also illegal in Canada. His point was to convey the effects of global warming, as the bear's environment was clearly lacking ice or snow.

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