Photos of emaciated polar bears have affirmed the increasingly dramatic climate changes resulting from global warming. A National Geographic photographer, Paul Nicklen, travelled to the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard in search of polar bears. However, the only two bears Nicklen found were starved to death.
“These bears were so skinny, they appeared to have died of starvation, as in the absence of sea ice, they were not able to hunt seals,” he wrote in the caption accompanying the photograph. Nicklen, a scientist at the University of Alberta, concluded that the bear had starved to death.
Kerstin Langenberger took another snapshot of a particularly emaciated polar bear, trudging along a shrinking piece of ice. It was only one of several gaunt female polar bears that Langenberger had discovered during her trip to Svalbard.
The population of polar bears has plummeted in recent decades, most likely as a result of global warming, but it is impossible to find a direct cause as the primary locations of these bears are in remote areas. The loss of sea ice, however, has a direct harmful impact on these bears’ wellbeing.