These shocking images were taken by photographer Kerstin Langenberger in Svalbard, Norway.
Last year she and a group of friends traveled to Svalbard, in search of polar bears. They went to her favorite spot, where she has always been able to find plenty of polar bears roaming the wild. On this occasion, however, things were shockingly different. There was hardly any sea ice anymore and instead they found only polar bears that were either death or starving…
With the pack ice retreating further and further north every year, the polar bears tend to be stuck on land where there’s hardly any food to be found. Polar bears are currently considered vulnerable on the IUCN red list. IUCN explains that the bears are considered vulnerable because it’s believed there has been a population reduction of more than 30% in the last three generations (45 years). This is mainly due to loss of habitat as a result of melting sea ice.
Sadly, the future doesn’t look bright either. The IUCN says: “Global climate change posses a substantial threat to the habitat of polar bears. Recent modeling of the trends for sea ice extent, thickness and timing of coverage predicts dramatic reductions in sea ice coverage over the next 50-100 years.”