A truly heart-wrenching video of a starving polar bear is making the rounds, showing us what our future might look like if we don't deal with climate change.
A new video that has gone viral online is difficult to watch, and even more difficult to contemplate because of the potentially dark future it foreshadows for our planet. In the video, a starving polar bear that is astonishingly skinny can be seen lethargically wandering over iceless terrain, desperately looking for some sort of food.
The bear was seen on the Baffin Islands in Canada, and was filmed by conservation group Sea Legacy and National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen. The video, which is embedded at the bottom of this post, appears to show the bear rummaging through a trash can – normally, the bear’s diet is seals, but it relies on sea ice to reach them.
But not everyone sees this video as quite so tragic, with experts quoted in various news articles as saying that the polar bear may have been sick or had been recovering from an injury, and it most likely had nothing to do with climate change. Still, even if that’s the case, the video can serve as an important reminder of what may lie ahead for animals like the polar bear should the sea ice continue to melt.
“The International Union for Conservation of Nature, Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, United States Geological Survey and many leading polar bear biologists have expressed grave concerns about the impact of climate change, including the belief that the current warming trend imperils the survival of the polar bear,” reads an excerpt from Wikipedia. “The key danger posed by climate change is malnutrition or starvation due to habitat loss. Polar bears hunt seals from a platform of sea ice. Rising temperatures cause the sea ice to melt earlier in the year, driving the bears to shore before they have built sufficient fat reserves to survive the period of scarce food in the late summer and early fall. Reduction in sea-ice cover also forces bears to swim longer distances, which further depletes their energy stores and occasionally leads to drowning. Thinner sea ice tends to deform more easily, which appears to make it more difficult for polar bears to access seals. Insufficient nourishment leads to lower reproductive rates in adult females and lower survival rates in cubs and juvenile bears, in addition to poorer body condition in bears of all ages.”