Starving polar bear becomes the harrowing face of climate change.

The terrifying reality of the effects of climate change have never felt more real, especially after National Geographic released video footage of a starving polar bear trying to locate food.

“We stood there crying, filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen confessed.

As a result of Baffin Island’s increasingly dry and warm habitat, the emaciated polar bear is shown desperately searching for whatever food it can source, lethargically rummaging through empty trash cans left unattended by humans.

starving polar bear becomes the face of climate change
Image: National Geographic.

Polar bears strongly rely on an ice environment to go about mating, traveling, and hunting, and therefore they become one of the first species to be immediately affected by the adversity of climate change. As shown in the footage, the aggregating heat and the disappearance of any ice formation has repelled the presence of seals, the bear's main food source. This means the threat to the lives of these polar bears is very, very real.

This footage allows a glimpse into the process of extinction – starvation and muscle atrophy to the point of insufferable death. We didn't ask to see it, and that's exactly the reason why National Geographic shared it.


"When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realise what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death," Nicklen said in a Twitter post.

"This is what a starving bear looks like."

A study conducted by World Wide Fund for Nature has found that if climate change persists on its current route, the polar bear species will soon completely die out.

We hear of animals on the verge of extinction, and while the bleak nature of the situation is acknowledged, its harrowing reality is often discarded.

If nothing has before, this footage needs to be what urges people everywhere to make an active attempt to tackle climate change.

It’s now or never.