Pictures of a horribly thin polar bear have emerged sparking a debate over global warming.
Many have said it is a sign of how global warming is destroying the planet. But other people are now saying it could actually be an old or sick bear.
The picture was posted by Kerstin Langenberger who saw it on Svalbard.
She said: ‘Yes, I have seen bears in good shape – but I have also seen dead and starving polar bears. Bears walking on the shores, looking for food, bears trying to hunt reindeer, eating bird’s eggs, moss and seaweed.
‘Many times I have seen horribly thin bears, and those were exclusively females – like this one here.
‘A mere skeleton, hurt on her front leg, possibly by a desperate attempt to hunt a walrus while she was stuck on land.’
But while the general consensus is that climate change is destroying our planet, this photo isn’t necessarily evidence of that.
Professor Iain Stirling of the University of Alberta told Mashable ‘You have to be a little bit careful about drawing conclusions immediately. [The bear] may be starving but it may just be old.
‘A difficulty hunting could be involved. I don’t think you can tie that one to starvation because of lack of sea ice.’
While his point may have a degree of truth, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the photo still seems truly shocking and only acts to remind us that sea levels are rising at an increasingly alarming rate.
In total contrast, National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen snapped this photo of a polar bear in the same region – which does seemingly show the harsh reality of climate change.
He claimed that ‘In all of my years of growing up in the Arctic and later, working as a biologist, I had never found a dead polar bear.’ But this particular polar bear died as a result of an absence of sea ice – meaning they were not able to hunt seals.