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.
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]