A heartbreaking video is making its way across social media, leaving its viewers feeling helpless.
A wildlife photographer named Paul Nicklen captured the gut-wrenching moment while filming on Baffin Island, a northeast Canadian territory. It's a video of a starving polar bear, clearly malnourished and suffering from atrophy.
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
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Nicklen shared the video to his Instagram account, where it's tallied more than one million views. His point was to convey the effects of global warming, as the bear's environment was clearly lacking ice or snow.
"The simple truth is this—if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems," Nicklen wrote in the post.
Nicklen, a contributor to National Geographic, told the publication there was nothing he could do to help the bear amid social media comments asking why he did nothing. He pointed out that he doesn't carry seal meat around on photo shoots. It's also illegal to feed wild polar bears in Canada, according to National Geographic.