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Starving polar bear goes viral in heartbreaking video

Polar bear suffering from starvation. Photo: Instagram post of Paul Nicklen's photo of a starving polar bear (@paulnicklen)

WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) -- A photograph of a polar bear is grabbing attention as it shows the animal slowly succumbing to starvation.

"We stood there crying - filming with tears rolling down our cheeks," photographer Paul Nicklen, who took the photo, told the National Geographic. "When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death."

Nicklen said that intervening in the situation crossed his mind but "it's not like I walk around with a tranquilizer gun or 400 pounds of seal meat."

It is also illegal to give wild polar bears food in Canada.

The photographer says he hopes to bring awareness to climate change. In a Facebook post, Nicklen advocated for the reduction of the carbon footprint, eating the right foods and the end to cutting down forests.

“It’s a soul-crushing scene that still haunts me, but I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy. This is what starvation looks like," Nicklen said. "The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death. When scientists say polar bears will be extinct in the next 100 years, I think of the global population of 25,000 bears dying in this manner.”

The video has already reached over 1 million views on Facebook.

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