A video of an emaciated polar bear on iceless land has highlighted starkly the drastic effects of climate change.
The video, shot by National Geographic-contributing photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from a conservation group called Sea Legacy, shows the starving animal making its way with difficulty across the terrain.
The clip, which was shot in Canada's Baffin Islands, drew comments from thousands of users who called the video heart-breaking.
Nicklen posted the video on his Instagram page on Wednesday (Dec 6), and it has since gone viral with more than a million views.
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 email@example.com or call +44 121 616 1100 / +1 646 380 1615”
The sight was one of the most gut-wrenching ones he has ever seen, The National Geographic said in a report on Thursday.
"We stood there crying - filming with tears rolling down our cheeks," he told the magazine.
Polar bears are classified as vulnerable, with a population of 22,000 to 31,000, according to worldwildlife.org.
They were listed as a threatened species in the US under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network