‘Soul-crushing’: Filmmaker captures ‘slow, painful death’ of starving polar bear (VIDEO)

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© Ilya Naymushin / Reuters

Footage of a starving polar bear clinging to life in the Canadian Arctic has highlighted one of the most devastating effects of climate change.

The emaciated bear was filmed just “hours or days” from death as it searched for food on the barren and iceless Baffin Island – Canada’s largest and the fifth largest in the world. The heartbreaking footage was captured by the conservation group Sea Legacy while filming a documentary over the summer.

My entire Sea Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear,” wrote photographer Paul Nicklen in the lengthy caption accompanying the video, shared on Instagram. “This is what starvation looks like. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death.”

 

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 protected] or call +44 121 616 1100 / +1 646 380 1615”

A post shared by Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen) on

The heartbreaking footage shows the bear fruitlessly searching for food inside abandoned trash cans with little luck. Nicklen didn’t think the bear was old but said its condition was bad enough to expect it to die within hours of filming.

As temperatures rise and sea ice melts, polar bears lose access to the main staple of their diets – seals,” Nicklen noted. “Starving, and running out of energy, they are forced to wander into human settlements for any source of food.”

Responding to criticism as to why the film crew didn’t come to the bear’s aid, Nicklen explained that the team were forced to choose between saving a single bear, or enlightening the world to the pain and suffering felt by the remaining 25,000 polar bears facing extinction within the next 100 years.

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 wrote.

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.”

via : RT

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