Viral Video of Starving Polar Bear Is Breaking Hearts Online

Viral footage captured by National Geographic of a skeletal polar bear scavenging for food in a barren landscape is breaking the hearts of social media, and speculated as a stark reality in climate change.

In the clip recorded by SeaLegacy filmmakers on Somerset Island, near Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada, the emaciated bear’s bones are visible through its yellow fur as he struggles to search for food.

While in conversation with the CBC, SeaLegacy’s co-founder Cristina Mittermeier said when the bear first got up, her team discovered it was in the late stages of starvation.

“It was incredibly shocking,” she said.

In the video, the bear can be seen making its way to a trash bin tp pull out its meal, which Mittermeier discloses “looked like a piece of the seat from a snowmobile.”

“That’s what it was eating — this foam that was burned and charred and absolutely not edible,” she said.

The scene was so emotional for the videographers, who are not allowed to intervene, that they could only think of one thing to do to help create a conversation through impact.

“All of our team was in tears and feeling completely helpless to do anything about it except to roll our cameras and share it with the world,” she said.

It is known that polar bears rely on sea ice to access their main food sources, such as seal and walrus.

While the film team has shot footage in the past, it is well known that winters are now shrinking in the Arctic, causing sea ice to melt before mammals, like bears, can gather enough food to last them as they hibernate.

“We hear from scientists that in the next 100 to 150 years, we’re going to lose polar bears,” Mittermeier said. “We wanted the world to see what starvation of a majestic animal like this looks like.”

Social media reacted to the footage, equally heartbroken.


According to the World Wildlife, polar bears are seen as the poster child of the impacts of climate change. Their dependence on sea ice makes them highly vulnerable to an evolving climate.

Photo credit: Twitter / @redskitownphotos