Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The starving polar bear: a symbol of global warming?

#expeditioncruising .



When you go on an expedition cruise, you see mother nature in all her raw beauty. This is not a zoo or a circus. With the cute and adorable animals you cannot escape the very real hardships animals face every day in the wild. Sometimes it's the result of manmade hazards, sometimes it's just nature taking its normal course.

When Kerstin Langenberger posted this photo from Svalbard a couple of years back, many doomsayers were quick to point to global warming and the shrinking ice cap causing polar bears to starve because they can't use the sea ice to hunt seals as they normally would.

‘You have to be a little bit careful about drawing conclusions immediately," said Professor Iain Stirling of the University of Alberta, "[The bear] may be starving but it may just be old.

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen took this photo (below) of a polar bear in the same region. He remarked:

"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. In all of my years of growing up in the Arctic and later, working as a biologist, I had never found a dead polar bear."

Have you sailed to Svalbard? What did you see?


Last summer I traveled with a group of friends to Svalbard, Norway in search of polar bears. We went to my favorite spot where I have always been able to find bears roaming around on sea ice throughout the summer. On this occasion, however, we didn't find any sea ice and we never found any bears alive. We did find two dead bears in this location and other groups found more dead bears. 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. In all of my years of growing up in the Arctic and later, working as a biologist, I had never found a dead polar bear. It is now becoming much more common. Through @sea_legacy and @natgeo we will continue to shine a light on our changing planet to convince the unconvinced. Please follow me on @paulnicklen to learn more about the effects of climate change. #polarbear #nature #wildlife #arctic #seaice @thephotosociety
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