“The polar bear in the [video] clearly appears to be on its last legs, is in extremely poor body condition and visibly appears to be starving,” York said. “The cause of that starvation is entirely unknown. It could be related to age, injury, disease or other factors limiting its success in obtaining prey.”
To Nicklen, however, one thing is clear: As the bears’ habitats continue to shrink, they’re at a heightened risk of meeting the same fate of the now-famed emaciated bear in his footage.
“The simple truth is this ... we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems,” Nicklen said. “This large male bear was not old, and he certainly died within hours or days of this moment. But there are solutions.”