'Starving' polar bear provokes climate change dialogue
Ottawa: A video on a starving polar bear in northern Canada's Nunavut region has led to concerns on climate change as well as doubts about the real cause of the beast's emaciation.
Earlier this month, video and photos were published showing a scrawny polar bear rummaging in the garbage for food in an abandoned fishing camp on Somerset Island of Nunavut, Xinhua news agency reported.
The heartbreaking scene was shared and retweeted around the world for millions of times, with people in the comments arguing over the phenomenon of shrinking Arctic sea ice because of global warming, which makes hunting harder for animals like polar bears.
"The simple truth is this -- if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems," said Paul Nicklen, a photographer with a documentary team at the "soul-crushing scene".
The video directly puts the blame on climate change as the script in the beginning says: "This is what climate change looks like."
Yet there are people doubting the whole thing as agenda driven, saying the polar bear could be terribly sick or suffering from vital injury.
Leo Ikakhik, a resident in Arviat village on Canada's western Hudson Bay, is a polar bear monitor working for organisations like the World Wildlife Fund Canada. According to him, the polar bear's wretched condition is "just part of the cycle".
"Mother Nature is going to do part of that... I would not really blame the climate change. It's just part of the animal, what they go through," Ikakhik said in an interview with CBC Radio One.
While some people refused to take the video as proof of climate change, a conservation group named SeaLegacy hoped the scene could prompt discussions on the negative influence of warming global temperatures on the Arctic and its wildlife.
"(The bear) was starving and we want people to know what a starving polar bear looks like, because as we lose the ice in the Arctic polar bears will starve," SeaLegacy co-founder Cristina Mittermeier told CBC Radio One on Friday.
A study released in October by a climate research group at the University of Calgary suggested that Arctic Ocean could be ice-free much sooner than the previous predictions of the first ice-free Arctic summer to occur between 2040 and 2050.
The consequences would be enormous for polar bears as these seal-predators' only access to food is from the surface of sea ice.