credit - cristinamittermeier

Heartbreaking Video Of A Starving Polar Bear

The video was captured by SeaLegacy filmmakers on Somerset Island, near Baffin Island in Nunavut.

Polar bears rely on sea ice to access their main food sources: seal and walrus. In many parts of the Arctic, where the SeaLegacy team filmed for several weeks, the mammals are thriving. But in this part of the Arctic, winters are shrinking, causing sea ice to melt before the bears can gather enough food to last them through hibernation.

In the video, the bear makes its way to a trash bin and pulls out its meal.
“It looked like a piece of the seat from a snowmobile. That’s what it was eating — this foam that was burned and charred and absolutely not edible.”


“My entire SeaLegacy 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.”
Paul Nicklen Photography

Listen to Cristina Mittermeier on CBC As It Happens talking about what is breaking hearts around the world.
Photo credit: Cristina Mittermeier