Filmmakers “Stood There Crying” As They Helplessly Captured A Polar Bear Starving

The devastating effects of climate change can feel abstract when we talk about carbon-dioxide levels and shifting weather patterns. But they are distressingly real when we see what they’re doing to the world’s polar bears.
Image result for nat geo dying polar bear

Nature photographer Paul Nicklen recently posted a video to social media that he shot on Somerset Island, in the Canadian territory of the Arctic Circle. 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. “The muscles atrophy,” he wrote in the caption. “No energy. It’s a slow, painful death.”





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


Polar bears have become the poster animals for climate change because they offer a clear, concrete image to convey the harm global warming is already beginning to wreak on the planet. “We are a visual species,” Nicklen told the Washington Post (paywall). He had traveled to the remote region where he shot the footage with Sea Legacy, a group that uses visual storytelling to prompt action on climate change.

No one can prove that particular bear was starving because of climate change. But there is plenty of evidence indicating that warming is causing sea ice—the bears’ main hunting ground—to dwindle, which threatens the bears’ existence.

One 2015 study found that the polar bear population in the southern Beaufort Sea had declined 40% because of the loss of sea ice. A 2017 study by the US Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming concluded that bears are also spending more energy walking across a “treadmill” of drifting sea ice caused by warming, and needed to eat more to compensate. According to the Washington Post (paywall), researchers believe 80% of polar bear populations could die off if sea ice continues to disappear.

Nicklen told National Geographic, where he is a contributor, that the video he shot of the starving bear was one of the most painful scenes he’s witnessed. “We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” he said.

But he thought it was necessary to show to people who would otherwise never see such a scene. “When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like,” he said. “Bears are going to starve to death. This is what a starving bear looks like.”

Comments

  1. Bring rabbits to the island? They seem to breed faster than expected?

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    1. great idea, but a rabbit won't sustain a polar bear for long. Is the habitat even conducive to sustaining a rabbit colony? It would have to be Arctic rabbits, bigger than usual to satisfy a bear.

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  2. Why didn’t the photographer not help the bear? Could’ve given some food for the time being

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    1. Yes i agree. Get ypur footage and then feed the bear

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    2. lol it won't work like that ,duty is different empathy is different

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    3. its because it will only make the bear suffer for a long time he need at least 2kg of fats to survive for a day or 2

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    4. Feed the bears a few climate change deniers.

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  3. That’s a nice after thought Ssagnier, but a “band aid” approach won’t heal a severed artery. We have to make drastic personal lifestyle choices as a species if we want these animals to survive.

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    1. no, maybe not, but they could have given him a warm and full belly for at least one day

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    2. Exactly. They could have. Who would just stand aside and watch?! I can't stand it when people say 'oh no leave them don't get involved with wildlife'. Instead they stood there gawking when they easily very very easily could have given it food and helped. Even for one day. Ridiculous.infuriates me.

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    3. There are more polar bears now than 50 years ago.

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  4. So so sad my very spirit hurts for them.

    God help them amen!!!!!

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    1. God isn't going to save them. You need to do something about it.

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    2. Unfortunately as much as we would love for God to intervene... it won't happen. So many billions of animals and millions of people die... without intervention.. at the hands of mankind.

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  5. Sickening and disgusting how many people I hear blatantly refuse to believe the earth is in a severe climate change that has also caused severe weather patterns all across the Earth even with solid scientific evidence... but greedy corrupt elected people that run the Governments/Countries, especially right here in the United States still mislead their zombie followers to keep ignoring this global issue and do NOTHING.

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    1. Prepare to be sickened because those of us with common sense see that the world is not in severe climate change and its just running its natural cycles. You let politicians get into your head when you were younger with facts that are not even close to being true. Hell, odds are this is the result of disease and not climate change or lack of food.

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    2. Your 'common sense' must have come from your ass.You have absolutely no clue. 97% of climate scientists AGREE that man made climate change is driving the shrinking polar caps and the decimation of the ecology there. like most idiots you stubbornly cling to the notion that it is a natural cycle and yet the massive amount of corroborated and peer reviewed data says the exact opposite.You claim this is the result of disease and provide no source to back up that claim. Climate change however, has compelling evidence that only a fool would ignore. Your claim that the facts aren't even close to being true is laughable.. you are just another youtube expert with absolutely no understanding of the situation.... unlike the 97% of experts who can literally prove otherwise.

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    3. I agree....totally. If anyone has seen INCOVENIENT TRUTH... it would spin your head. Incredible, fully documented with FACTS that cannot be denied... unless you stick your head in the sand and ignore it. We may have in fact passed the TIPPING POINT where we May not be able to undo it. Sort of when a 100 car freight train is moving... putting on the brakes may take almost a mile to stop.... by then anything In its way is done!

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    4. 97% percent of scientists will agree about climate change because not, they will get fired.

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  6. Climate changes force evolutionary changes,... if the bears learn to use tools, such as opening doors and windows, I for one think we set them free inside the offices of politicians and environment destroying corporations.
    Solves the issues of having to feed the bears, as well as getting rid of the lobbyists and politicians getting rich off this devastation.

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  7. they couldn't save this individual bear??B.S. THEY COULD BUY FISH AND FEED THE BEARS FOR ALL THE MONEY THEY SOLD THIS VIDEO FOR!

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  8. Absolutely hard to see, they say we'll be Polar Bear 'free' withing 25 years. Many animals go 'extinct' every day in this world. It's a shame but there is nothing, at this point, we as a civilization can do to change the way the climate is evolving. If 'alarmists' would do their homework and research it, of course the planet is warming up, we are STILL coming down off of the backside of the last ice age. We human's time on this planet is just the blink of an eye in the life of this planet. We will end up just like the dinosaurs and many other civilizations before us.

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  9. Man, I can’t even count the number of dumb ass comments on here �� “go and buy fish so they could eat” THAT WONT HELP THEM FOREVER. Morons ��

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    1. It would give the bear strength to go somewhere and get food. It is not known if the bear was sick or old so everybody is getting hysterical about something they don't know.

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  10. 97% my ass ... you hold on to a lie and STILL spew this made up percentage .

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  11. Ship them to manatiba lol it’s cold out here and lots of food for them lol But no really sad makes me cry and if I was there I would of put 400$ to fish for him poor bear I hate ppl who say don’t go near wildlife and yet they just stand and look at him dieing like ppl make the change don’t just post shit if you want it to change do feed the one who is in front of you

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  12. On all you fools riding on the mass hysteria climate change bandwagon.....
    The liars will say a 100 years ago, temperatures were cooler. Back then there wasn't so many people where temps were taken. Now temps are taken at the airport or in city limits. Of course its warmer.
    Not to worry, there's a group of people spraying the skies with chemicals. It use to be called chemtrails but you're a conspiracy nut calling it that. The politically correct names are cloud lightening,ionospheric aerosols.....And the good video explaining all this has been terminated by youtube. Gotta go find it.

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  13. polar bears are believed to originate in Ireland - not the polar ice - also the numbers have risen to dangerous levels - ask the Inuit - not some NatGeo photo hack whose done this before for money. hes no saint https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-so-many-bears-draft-plan-says-nunavuts-polar-bear-population-is/
    This story was debunked years ago - pls stop this garbage

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  14. polar bears are fine - read for yourselves https://principia-scientific.org/?s=polar+bears

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  15. All I know is I saw this and immediately crashed into tears!!! WE CANT LET THEM ALL DIE!! WE CAN'T! The U.S.> IS "supposedly" the best/richest/whatever in the world? PROVE IT!!

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