A heartbreaking video of a starving polar bear has gone viral, warning the public against the imminent dangers of climate change.
The video was published earlier this week (December 6) on Instagram by photographer Paul Nicklen, who had recently visited Canada’s Baffin Island along with environmental advocacy group Sea Legacy. In the clip, a bony polar bear can be seen walking slowly in search of food, sadly not finding any. The tired and emaciated animal eventually lies back down, exhausted from his fruitless hunt. According to Nicklen and his team, the bear likely died hours later.
In his caption, Nicklen wrote that he and his colleagues fought back tears while witnessing the starving 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,” he added. The photographer went on to explain that “if the earth continues to warm,” the ecosystems in which polar bears thrive will cease to exist, thus eliminating our planet of these creatures themselves.
Although Nicklen’s video is undoubtedly devastating to watch, it raises an important point that must be addressed. Federal officials have noted that polar bears are in danger of going extinct because of the damage that has been done to their habitat. In the 2016 Polar Bear Conservation Management Plan that was created by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, experts concluded: “The single most important action for conservation and recovery of polar bears is a prompt and aggressive global reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases contributing to Arctic warming.”
This is in line with Nicklen’s message as well. His video ended with a call-to-action, reminding others of what they can do to help these animals, along with others who are affected by climate change. “But there are solutions,” Nicklen added. “We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth — our home — first.”
Reporting : Teen Vogue