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'We went too far': National Geographic admits there was no evidence starving polar bear in video watched by 2.5 billion was dying due to climate change
- Video viewed by billions showed emaciated bear on an island in Canadian Arctic
- Clip put out by National Geographic said: 'This is what climate change looks like'
- But 130-year-old publication has now admitted it went 'too far' with the caption?
- It says there is 'no way to know for certain' why bear was on the verge of death
National Geographic has admitted there was no evidence to back up its claim that a starving polar bear in a video 'seen by 2.5 billion people around the world' was dying due to climate change.
Heartbreaking footage showed the emaciated animal?scavenging for food and stumbling over terrain devoid of ice on an island in the Canadian Arctic along with the words: 'This is what climate change looks like'.
But the 130-year-old magazine has now said it went 'too far' in its video caption, admitting 'there is no way to know for certain why this bear was on the verge of death.'
The original clip was viewed by an estimated 2.5 billion people around the world, according to photographer Cristina Mittermeier, who captured an iconic image of the animal?with hardly any fur covering its skinny frame.
National Geographic has now released a new version with updated captions - starting with the words: 'This is what a starving polar bear looks like'. Another caption in the video says the bear 'went missing after this footage was shot, making it impossible to know specifically what ailed it.'
National Geographic has admitted there was no evidence a starving polar bear in a video 'seen by 2.5 billion' was dying due to climate change. The clip showed the emaciated animal scavenging for food and stumbling over terrain devoid of ice at Resolute Bay on Canada's Baffin Island along with the words: 'This is what climate change looks like' (shown above)
The 130-year-old publication has now said it went 'too far' in its video caption, admitting 'there is no way to know for certain why this bear was on the verge of death.' It has now released a new version of the video?starting with the words: 'This is what a starving polar bear looks like'
The original clip was viewed by an estimated 2.5 billion people around the world, according to photographer Cristina Mittermeier, who captured an iconic image of the animal with hardly any fur covering its skinny frame
National Geographic had picked up the video captured by Mittermeier's team and added subtitles before releasing it in December 2017.
In an?article?for the publication, called 'Starving-Polar-Bear Photographer Recalls What Went Wrong', she said: 'Photographer Paul Nicklen and I are on a mission to capture images that communicate the urgency of climate change. Documenting its effects on wildlife hasn't been easy.
'With this image, we thought we had found a way to help people imagine what the future of climate change might look like. We were, perhaps, naive. The picture went viral - and people took it literally.'
Mittermeier said her team's message had been misconstrued.
She wrote: 'The first line of the National Geographic video said, "This is what climate change looks like" — with "climate change" then highlighted in the brand's distinctive yellow. In retrospect, National Geographic went too far with the caption.'
The clip soon went viral with gut-wrenching descriptions of the animal's plight coming from photographers on the project.?One said that they 'stood there crying, filming with tears rolling down our cheeks.'
National Geographic had picked up the video captured by Mittermeier's team and added subtitles before releasing it in December 2017. The bear is pictured?scouring the desolate landscape for food
But Mittermeier wrote that she couldn’t 'say that this bear was starving because of climate change.'
'Perhaps we made a mistake in not telling the full story - that we were looking for a picture that foretold the future and that we didn’t know what had happened to this particular polar bear.'
She did, however, say that?polar bears 'rely on a platform of sea ice from which to hunt', adding: A fast-warming Arctic means that sea ice is disappearing for increasingly longer periods of time each year.?
'That means many more bears will get stranded on land, where they can’t pursue the seals, walruses, and whales that are their prey and where they will slowly starve to death.'
According to Fox News, experts have suggested that aside from climate change, old age, sickness or injury may have explained the animal's worsening condition.?
An editor's note topping Mittermeier's article admitted National Geographic 'went too far in drawing a definitive connection between climate change and a particular starving polar bear in the opening caption of our December 2017 video about the animal.'??
The clip was originally recorded by photographer Paul Nicklen, part of conservation group Sea Legacy
'We said, "This is what climate change looks like." While science has established that there is a strong connection between melting sea ice and polar bears dying off, there is no way to know for certain why this bear was on the verge of death,' the note added.
The clip was originally recorded by photographer Paul Nicklen, part of conservation group Sea Legacy.
At the time, the former biologist told National Geographic: 'We stood there crying, filming with tears rolling down our cheeks.
'Of course, that crossed my mind, But it's not like I walk around with a tranquilliser gun or 400 pounds of seal meat.'
The photographer shared the haunting moment with his Instagram followers, attracting over one million views at the time of publication.
One of the bear's back legs can be seen dragging behind it as it walks, likely due to muscle atrophy from lack of food.
The bear in the clip is likely to have died 'within hours or days of this moment', Mr Nicklen said on the photo sharing site.
Writing in the accompanying caption, he said: 'My entire Sea Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear.
'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. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It's a slow, painful death.'
The wildlife photographer says he captured the creature's lingering agony because he didn't want its death to be in vain.
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