WATCH: Heartbreaking video of starving polar bear is the face of climate change

2017-12-09 09:19
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(National Geographic)

Cape Town - National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen recorded this evocative footage while on the Baffin Islands in Canada. 

Shared in a post by the iconic publication, it shows how lack of sea ice is making it more difficult for polar bears to find food. To see an animal designed to go months without eat, starving to death is telling not only of the impact of climate change but also the extent of it.

Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy arrived in the Baffin Islands in late summer to the gut-wrenching sight of this starving polar bear on its deathbed.

Video shows the polar bear clinging to life, its white hair limply covering its thin, bony frame.

"One of the bear's back legs drags behind it as it walks, likely due to muscle atrophy. Looking for food, the polar bear slowly rummages through a nearby trashcan used seasonally by Inuit fishers. It finds nothing and resignedly collapses back down onto the ground.

'This bear must not  die in vain'

"We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks," says Nicklen.

When as why he didn't intervene, he says the thought did cross his mind but it would only have been ""prolonging the bear's misery. Plus, feeding wild polar bears is illegal in Canada".