Heartbreaking footage of a starving polar bear desperately searching for food on ice-less land highlights the “real face of climate change”, conservationists say.

Photojournalist Paul Nicklen said his team were moved to tears as they captured the struggling animal’s battle to stay alive on Canada’s Baffin Island last summer. The “soul-crushing” scene, captured by marine conservationists SeaLegacy, shows the emaciated bear searching an abandoned Inuit camp for sustenance.

Polar bears - Credit: AP
Polar bears are listed as vulnerable due to a “loss of sea ice habitat from climate change.

“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. 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.”

“As global temperatures rise, the amount of multi-year sea ice in the Arctic shrinks. Polar bears depend on that ice to travel large distances and to hunt for their food. Without sea ice this will become a common scene across the Arctic,” they said.

The World Wildlife Fund says polar bears are vulnerable due to a “loss of sea ice habitat from climate change”. A study published last year by University of Washington researchers found that polar bears across the Arctic are facing a shorter sea ice season, a surface they depend on for hunting, traveling and breeding.

Daily Telegraph / AA Magnum News 2017.

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