While the female polar bears remain on land with the cubs, the males go off in search of food. As shown in the Oscar®-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the warming climate has reduced the amount of ice in the Arctic. And as that melting ice becomes too weak to support them, the polar bears can't effectively hunt seals.
As summer goes on and the ice is long gone, polar bears leave the sea and go on land to hunt walruses—the largest seals in the world. Weighing more than a ton with nearly three-foot-long tusks, a walrus is no easy prey for a tired and hungry polar bear. As this bear misses several chances for a kill and suffers stab wounds from tusks, his first meal in months slips away. Sadly, since the polar bear is unable to feed, he will not survive.
Vanessa, who was on the polar bear shoot, says the global warming effect on the polar bears was never far from her mind. "I went to see [An Inconvenient Truth]—and I was really moved by it." she says. "And then when we got those images, it was like this is exactly what we saw in the movie. It's happening for real."