Photographer behind viral image of starving polar bear raises questions about climate change narrative


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The narrative behind the viral photograph of a polar bear ravenous, reportedly because of local weather change, has been known as into query by the Nationwide Geographic photographer who took it within the first place.

In an article for the August situation of Nationwide Geographic titled “Ravenous-Polar-Bear Photographer Recollects What Went Fallacious,” Cristina Mittermeier talks in regards to the meant message of the picture versus the message that was acquired.

“We had misplaced management of the narrative,” she mentioned.

“Photographer Paul Nicklen and I are on a mission to seize photographs that talk the urgency of local weather change. Documenting its results on wildlife hasn’t been straightforward,” she wrote within the article. “With this picture, we thought we had discovered a method to assist folks think about what the way forward for local weather change would possibly appear to be. We had been, maybe, naive. The image went viral — and other people took it actually.”


The picture she is referencing reveals an emaciated polar bear with hardly any fur masking its bony body. In a video that was additionally taken of the bear, it may be seen slowly transferring by way of the terrain, rummaging by way of an empty can.

Mittermeier goes on to say that it was the language put out by the publication that led to the message being misconstrued.

“The primary line of the Nationwide Geographic video mentioned, ‘That is what local weather change appears to be like like’ — with ‘local weather change’ then highlighted within the model’s distinctive yellow. On reflection, Nationwide Geographic went too far with the caption.”

She estimated that 2.5 billion folks noticed the footage: “It grew to become essentially the most considered video on Nationwide Geographic’s web site — ever,” she mentioned.

From there, social media and information retailers erupted over the message that was being portrayed.

Some specialists urged a variety of cause in addition to local weather change that would’ve led to the animal’s situation, together with age, sickness and even damage.

Mittermeier admits that she couldn’t “say that this bear was ravenous due to local weather change.”

“Maybe we made a mistake in not telling the total story — that we had been searching for an image that foretold the long run and that we didn’t know what had occurred to this specific polar bear.”

The photographer says that her picture grew to become one other instance of “environmentalist exaggeration,” however added that her intentions had been “clear” and that if she had the chance to share “a scene like this one” once more, she would.

Paulina Dedaj is a author/ reporter for Fox Information. Comply with her on Twitter @PaulinaDedaj.

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