We’ve all heard the discussions surrounding global warming and the effect we are having on our planet.
But how many of us have seen the effects with our own eyes?
When photographer Paul Nicklen and film makers from Sea Legacy, an organisation that works to preserve the sea, came to Baffin Island one summer day, they were met by a terrible sight.
A polar bear was starving to death right in front of them.
Paul grew up in Canada, and during his career as a biologist and wildlife photographer has come across 3000 wild polar bears. But the pictures that were published December 5th this year were no pretty sight.
“We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” Paul tells National Geographic.
The video shows a polar bear searching for food. His fur is patchy, his back legs no longer work, and he pulls himself across the ground using his front legs.
He searches for food in a nearby trash can in the hope that a fisherman has left some scraps there.
But there is nothing in the cans, and the polar bear collapses to the ground.
Many people have asked Paul why he didn’t do anything when he saw the polar bear suffering.
“Of course, that crossed my mind,” Paul tells National Geographic. “But it’s not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat.”
And even if he’d had the supplies, it only would have extended the polar bear’s suffering. Not only that, but it’s illegal to feed wild animals in Canada.
Paul says he filmed the polar bear’s death because he didn’t want its death to be in vain.
These images of the dying bear are extremely strong. I don’t think anyone could see this film without being effected by what’s happeneing. And worst of all – it’s our fault.
Paul hopes that this story will be a wake-up call, so that more people will understand the consequences of global warming.
Polar bears are the first of us to be affected by rising temperatures and melting ice.
When there’s no ice, they can’t find seals and they will be without food.
As early as 2002, the World Wildlife Foundation reported that polar bears are at risk of extinction, and that many polar bears were showing signs of starvation.
Today, 15 years later, the situation doesn’t look much better. The melting ice means that the future looks bleak for polar bears.
If we don’t do something now, they will soon be extinct, The U.S. Geological Survey reports.
You can see the images Paul caught below. WARNING: Graphic Images
Please help us share this film so we can show everybody how serious this situation is. Together we can make a difference!
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