A heartbreaking video of a polar bear shows the creature starving and close to death as it wanders around an ice-less land. The video presents the harsh consequences of sea level rise and rising temperatures.
Biologist and photographer Paul Nicklen and other filmmakers from a conservation group were in the Baffin Islands when they chanced upon a polar bear wandering about in ice-less land. But Instead of a large, fluffy polar bear, the bony bear they saw was very thin and walked with one of its legs dragging behind it perhaps due to muscle atrophy. The video shows the polar bear rummaging for food in a trash can but collapses when it finds nothing to eat.
According to Nicklen, they were emotional when they filmed the struggling bear looking close to its death. When asked why he did not help the creature, Nicklen stated that while it did cross his mind, feeding wild polar bears is actually illegal in Canada and that they would only be prolonging the bear's misery. What's more, he states that they filmed the bear's suffering to show people what it means when scientists say that bears may go extinct as a result of starvation.
"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," said Nicklen in his social media post, also stating that if the planet continues to warm, we can lose not just bears but entire polar ecosystems.
The video he posted on social media has since garnered over 1 million views.
Polar Bear Starvation, Rising Temperatures, And Climate Change
Polar bears often hunt for seals on chunks of floating ice in the Arctic. However, with the rising sea levels and temperatures, those chunks of sea ice are getting harder and harder to find for polar bears, leaving them to starve. In fact, it has become common for polar bears to go for months without eating.
In 2002, a World Wildlife Fund report stated that polar bears were staying on land longer than they are staying on ice, prolonging their fasting seasons for longer periods of time. As such, the starvation trend could lead to the species' extinction.
It is not often that people see the concrete destruction that can occur as a result of climate change, but the video poses as a reminder that while humans may not always see its immediate deadly effects, creatures such as polar bears are one of the first to suffer from it and they are already experiencing it right now.