Heartbreaking footage has emerged of an emaciated polar bear in Canada’s Arctic.
The video, captured by conservation group Sea Legacy on Baffin Island, was shared by photographer Paul Nicklen.
The animal can be seen struggling to walk and foraging in vain in a metal drum for food.
He explained: “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.”
Nicklen said that his entire team was in tears at the scene.
He added: “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.”
He told National Geographic that he filmed the heart-rending sight because he didn’t want the animal to die in vain. He said he wanted to help send out a wider message about the consequences of global warming.
The footage left many on social media horrified…
This is why we need to be concerned about global warming and conservation. This is more than just polar bears but all species at risk due to habitat loss. This is a slow, painful death at the hands of humans. #betheforceforchange https://t.co/pcvUEZKVoj
December 9, 2017
I had to watch like 10mins of cute cats so I can at least heal a bit of my crushed soul reading the full story on this. PEOPLE PLEASE WAKE UP. Climate change is slowly affecting wildlife and we have to act now if we want our children to have a good planet to live in!!! https://t.co/rFAXCryLm9
December 9, 2017
Polar bears are particularly under threat from climate change because they rely heavily on ice for travelling, hunting, mating and resting.
The National Snow and Ice Data Centre has regularly noted record lows in sea ice coverage in its annual review of sea ice cover.
This is an issue which is predicted to worsen further in coming years.