One of the bear's back legs drags behind it as it walks, likely due to muscle atrophy.
The bear, which was not old, probably died within hours of being captured on video, said Nicklen.
On Dec. 5, Nicklen posted the grim video to his Instagram account, and since then, it's been stirring emotions around the web. "It's a slow, painful death".
With the overall temperature of planet earth hitting an all-time-high, polar bears are deprived of all supplies of their staple diet i.e. seals.
Of course, there is no way to know whether any given bear would have starved without climate change, or what the history of the bear in the video is. The polar bear - the world's largest land carnivore - is listed as a species of special concern under the Species at Risk Act, and the bears' sub-populations are closely monitored.
The photographer said in comments to the video the entire team "was pushing through tears" as they were documenting a dying bear, with what looks like severe muscular atrophy, moving slowly across the barren land in a vain search for food.
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"There was no saving this individual bear", he noted on social media.
By telling the story of just one animal the photographer is attempting to convey the global message which has an immediate effect, likewise the long-term impact on wildlife, is climate change.
"When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like", Paul Nicklen, who described the footage as "soul-crushing", told National Geographic. "We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth-our home-first".
Polar bears survive nearly entirely on seals, and seals in the arctic spend much of their lives on sea ice. Please join us at @sea_legacy as we search for and implement solutions for the oceans and the animals that rely on them-including us humans. "Bears are going to starve to death", said Nicklen. "This is what a starving bear looks like", Nat Geo said. With @CristinaMittermeier #turningthetide with @Sea_Legacy #bethechange #nature #naturelovers This video is exclusively managed by Caters News.
A 2002 World Wildlife Fund report claims that climate change would eventually lead to the extinction of the polar bears. The study showed that during the recent period, a solitary adult female polar bear required between 2,800,000 and 3,200,000 kcal annually.
Fifteen years later, polar bears' icy hunting grounds are in even worse shape. November 2017 saw an average sea-ice extent of 3.65 million square miles (9.46 million square kilometers), according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the third-lowest November extent on average since 1979. They must consume more seals to make up for the energy expended.
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