A wildlife photographer recently on assignment in Baffin Island, Nunavut, came across a polar bear.
And what it looked like will shock you.
Paul Nicklen shared heartbreaking video footage of the polar bear on his Instagram account. The bear is shown desperately looking for food in iceless conditions.
“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,” Nicklen wrote on Instagram.
The photographer was on assignment with the conservation group Sea Legacy during summer when he came across the bear.
He shared the video on December 5 and it has already received millions of views.
On Instagram, Nicklen explains that the bear’s poor health is related to the warming of cold climates.
“The simple truth is this—if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems,” he said.
“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.”
Nicklen’s video serves as a sad reminder that we cannot take Canada’s beautiful wilderness or wildlife for granted.