Footage of a starving polar bear on iceless land has surfaced, revealing the disastrous consequences of climate change. Photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from the conservation group Sea Legacy captured the video on Canada’s Baffin Island.
Nicklen grew up in Northern Canada and is no stranger to seeing bears in the wild, but the sight of the starving polar bear was unfamiliar and heart-wrenching. He posted a selection of video footage from the day on social media, hoping to bring the issue some much-needed attention.
“We stood there crying – filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” he said of witnessing the emaciated bear forage for anything it could eat. The animal is clearly close to death, as its boney frame is visible under its patchy fur.
It searches a garbage can, used seasonally by Inuit fishers, for something to eat. Finding nothing, it struggles to move away, likely suffering from muscle weakness and atrophy, before collapsing to the ground.
Polar bears usually weigh over 1,000 lbs, but this one is nowhere near that. Nicklen has been asked why he didn’t help the bear or offer some food. His response is logical.
“Of course, that crossed my mind,” he said. “But it’s not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat.”