© 2010 Daniel J. Cox/NaturalExposures.com

The Center for Biological Diversity: Warning: This video includes disturbing footage of a malnourished polar bear mother and her two cubs in western Hudson Bay, Canada. Some may choose not to watch, because it includes graphic scenes of a malnourished cub experiencing seizures. Both cubs died within two days of the November 23, 2010, filming. As difficult as the images are to watch, they show the real-life struggle polar bears face each day trying to survive on a warming planet. Malnourishment, starvation and even cannibalism have become facts of life for polar bears in western Hudson Bay and other areas.Polar bears are completely dependent upon large expanses of sea ice to hunt, feed and survive. They use the sea ice as a platform to capture seals and other prey. Global warming is rapidly melting their ice and lengthening the ice-free season, forcing bears to spend ever-longer periods of time on land, where there is little for them to eat. The longer bears like the ones in this video are stranded on land, the more likely they are to starve.

Polar bears were listed as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2008 due to sea-ice declines and dwindling populations. The U.S. population is projected to go extinct by 2050 if climate change in not reined in soon; the entire species may disappear by the end of the century. The polar bears of western Hudson Bay are on the front line of global warming impacts: their population declined by 22 percent between 1987 and 2004 and may be the first driven extinct by climate change.

The Center for Biological Diversity wrote the 2005 scientific petition to protect the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. We later filed suit to ensure the listing occurred and to win 187,000 square miles of protected “critical habitat” in Alaska in December 2010. The Center is currently in court to upgrade the polar bear’s status from “threatened” to “endangered” and to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions in the lower 48 states, which are contributing to the melting of Arctic sea ice, are subject to Endangered Species Act regulation.

This video (© 2010 Daniel J. Cox/NaturalExposures.com) was taken as part of The Arctic Documentary Project spearheaded by Daniel J. Cox under the umbrella of Polar Bears International. (The video may be freely embedded on others websites so long as it is credited with the hyperlink © 2010 Daniel J. Cox/NaturalExposures.com.)