Filmmakers “Stood There Crying” As They Helplessly Captured A Polar Bear Starving


Image result for nat geo dying polar bear
The devastating effects of climate change can feel abstract when we talk about carbon-dioxide levels and shifting weather patterns. But they are distressingly real when we see what they’re doing to the world’s polar bears.

Nature photographer Paul Nicklen recently posted a video to social media that he shot on Somerset Island, in the Canadian territory of the Arctic Circle. The clip shows a dying, emaciated polar bear searching desperately for food, its skin hanging from its bones, its legs so weak it can hardly stand. “The muscles atrophy,” he wrote in the caption. “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 info@catersnews.com or call +44 121 616 1100 / +1 646 380 1615”
A post shared by Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen) on

Polar bears have become the poster animals for climate change because they offer a clear, concrete image to convey the harm global warming is already beginning to wreak on the planet. “We are a visual species,” Nicklen told the Washington Post (paywall). He had traveled to the remote region where he shot the footage with Sea Legacy, a group that uses visual storytelling to prompt action on climate change.

No one can prove that particular bear was starving because of climate change. But there is plenty of evidence indicating that warming is causing sea ice—the bears’ main hunting ground—to dwindle, which threatens the bears’ existence.

One 2015 study found that the polar bear population in the southern Beaufort Sea had declined 40% because of the loss of sea ice. A 2017 study by the US Geological Survey and the University of Wyoming concluded that bears are also spending more energy walking across a “treadmill” of drifting sea ice caused by warming, and needed to eat more to compensate. According to the Washington Post (paywall), researchers believe 80% of polar bear populations could die off if sea ice continues to disappear.

Nicklen told National Geographic, where he is a contributor, that the video he shot of the starving bear was one of the most painful scenes he’s witnessed. “We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” he said.

But he thought it was necessary to show to people who would otherwise never see such a scene. “When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like,” he said. “Bears are going to starve to death. This is what a starving bear looks like.

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. https://www.google.com/amp/s/business.financialpost.com/opinion/the-real-story-behind-the-famous-starving-polar-bear-video-reveals-more-manipulation/amp

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  2. Did you feed him?? Rescue him?? Or just capture him for your film? If the latter you are just as bad as the climate control problem!!

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  4. As awful a scene this is to watch, there is no helping an animal like this, not really. The crew is not there to intervene with nature, only to show it's true form. Just as you can't expect them to step in if one animal was hunting another, it was not their place to step in here. Feeding the bear would not help him in the long run to find the lifelong nourishment he would require; and the reality of the situation is that no country likes to spend TOO much money in regards to animals, so finding him a safe haven would be difficult. This also does nothing to help all of the bears they didn't see.

    The point is that we as humans need to focus on how to help all of the bears, and other animals affected by this, not just the lucky few we cross paths with. We all need to make the concious decision to implement even little alterations in our daily lives that can have a positive long term outcome. Use that passion you feel right now to make a change instead of just pointing fingers and then moving on. Such actions help no one.

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    1. It's not nature though is it? The problem is man-made. They could have at least made a phone call, or somehow started the ball rolling for something to happen....

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  5. It may have been difficult,k but it not only could have, but should have saved this bear. You picture spoke volumes. Your careless refusal to help also speaks volumes. I know you're trying to save all the bears. Fingers should be pointed at you. Your argument is that of a strawman. That bear should have been helped and you know it. You took the picture of the starving bear...fine. The purpose of the picture would still be making the message, even if you saved teh poor bear. Nature is not doing this we are. Shame on you! I hope you find another profession because your attitude toward this makes you seem psychopathic.

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  6. I know that film makers and scientists may not havr the authorization to help the polar bear while shooting the film but

    Why would the organization that seeks change in the world expect others to help if they themselves do not live by the purpose and standard of their argument? Isn't the purpose to save? Why would someone simply watch and not proactively do anything when they have the power?


    Is it truly helping when you just watch at the side (claiming to bring awareness) when you (the organization) is hypocritical?

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  7. So build some freaking rafts for the beasts so they can hunt from the rafts. This isn't rocket science.

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    1. Apparently reading the article is rocket science though.

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  8. I can't get over these comments. People seem to understand the point and message of the video but not the action taken. There was no way to save this bear, he could have died hours or days after filming as they said. Feeding him would just have prolonged his suffering because it would have been a short term fix. This expectation really speaks volumes for how we handle problems, we don't look into the long term effects or consequences. We as people need to make changes. It was heart breaking to watch this short clip and I can't imagine the heartbreak and dread these film makers felt at that time. Thank you for spreading what is going on in our Arctic so we can make a change.

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    1. Well said. What is really sad is that people making these statements are doing nothing to help at all, yet they criticize the team filming for not getting involved with this starving bear. Hypocrites.

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    2. Very well said.. I know we would all like to see the bear getting better, in his shape now
      I could see he had a lot to work on and no time to do it. We all feel bad for him,but remember that we have to do something to help the others. Global warming is HERE and we certainly have to make everyone aware and for them to help.......Thank you!

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    3. And the article also states there is no way to know what was killing the bear, could have just as easily been a disease, cancer, etc and nothing to do with climate change. The bear should have been put to sleep instead of filming him and watching him die, stating he would surely be dead in a day or two. Not a great way to bring awareness. Had you been able to PROVE the bear was dying due to global warming that would be different - but you can't.

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  9. Euthanasia would have helped this starving bear. You knew that it was going to die anyway. It would have saved it from a more horrific end. Shame on you.

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  10. Right! They should have ended it's misery. Poor soul. My heart breaks for the bears and all the animals and humanity. This is the future for all of nothing is done about human impact on our home. I feel guilty because I have not personally done anything helpful myself. Its up to all of us. But I dont know how to make a difference. It seems so dismal.

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  11. It's not the film maker's place to euthanize this poor bear....it would be illegal and punishable by law. Instead of being judgemental, get involved in fighting the issues that are causing the world this pain.

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  12. Most of the people commenting on this story have no fucking clue how things really work in the wilds. There are 24,999 other polar bears that may be on their way to this unfortunate state of existence. Unless one of you can build a arctic circle sized freezer, this will be the fate for all of these majestic creatures.

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  13. Terrible situation. Not all polar bears become successful hunters. This happens naturally but unfortunately it will occur more often because of the declining sea ice.

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  14. You can't do much in those situations. And you're flat out retarded if you don't understand that. Shame on y'all for judging and pointing fingers about something you know nothing about.
    We did this. As a collective species. Humans are far more destructive to this planet, than anything else. We have destroyed their habitats. Pointing fingers at the film makers with your dirty hands, about why didn't they do something. All the while, you yourselves are doing nothing. THAT is shameful. They're bringing awareness. They as individuals can't do much. But people collectively, as a whole, could do something if they only got up off their asses and did it. Instead of shaming people from the comforts of their homes. 🙄

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  15. Do any of you remember the photo a few years back of the starving child with the vulture waiting for him to die ? The photographer who captured that image also did not / could not help that child. He won an award for that photo but a little while later took his own life.

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  16. Are you people total idiots?! This video is many, many months old and has already been refuted. The bear was diseased and dying for quite some time. Wake up.

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  17. Why doesnt anyone notice the habitat? No ice no snow. Its imperative for them to have it to survive. Also its a fucking bear noones going right up to it if they can help it buncha sheep

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  18. Safety first. Dont approach wild animals kids. Not for any reason

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  19. I wouldn't care what rules are in place I would break my back to help even one polar bear. If we all did what laws etc told us there would be alot more suffering going on. Film yes to get awareness out but Jesus help, if it was you on the side of the street you'd want someone to help. And I mean this comment as in general

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