A heartbreaking video of an emaciated polar bear is going viral online.
The video was taken by National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen inside the Arctic Circle in Canada.
It shows the starving bear struggling to walk, scavenging for anything to eat. Nicklen said he didn’t want the bear to die in vain.
In the days since he posted the footage, Nicklen said he’s been asked why he didn’t intervene.
“Of course, that crossed my mind,” Nicklen told National Geographic. “But it’s not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat.”
Plus, in Canada, feeding polar bears is illegal. But that doesn’t mean Nicklen wasn’t affected.
“We stood there crying. Filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” he said.
The video has struck a nerve with those who have viewed it, prompting a steady conversation about climate change.
Experts say the half-ton bears find large quantities of seals by traversing sea ice.
And while they’re used to not having food for several months during the summer while they wait for the ice to form again, warming temperatures and rising seas have prevented the ice from solidifying and polar bears are staying longer on the land looking for food, often times with little success, environmentalists say.
“When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death,” Nicklen told National Geographic. “This is what a starving bear looks like.”