SHOCKER: National Geographic admits they were wrong about “starving polar bear” video

A stunning admission from National Geographic:

National Geographic went too far in drawing a definitive connection between climate change and a particular starving polar bear in the opening caption of our video about the animal. We said, “This is what climate change looks like.” While science has established that there is a strong connection between melting sea ice and polar bears dying off, there is no way to know for certain why this bear was on the verge of death. This is an updated version of the video.

Dr. Susan Crockford says in an essay:

Remember that video of an emaciated Baffin Island polar bear that went viral last December? In an unexpected follow-up (“Starving-Polar-Bear Photographer Recalls What Went Wrong“; National Geographic, August 2018 issue), photographer Cristina Mittermeier makes some astonishing admissions that might just make you sick.

Baffin Island starving pb headline_GlobalNews_8 Dec 2017

It turns out they didn’t just come across the dying bear the day it was filmed: it was spotted at least two days earlier by Paul Nicklen. He must have had a satellite phone with him when he saw the bear but the only call he made was to his film crew — he made no attempt to find a local conservation officer to euthanize the bear, which would have been the right thing to do.

The bear’s emaciated, near-death stagger1 was simply too tantilizing to pass up (video needs action: an emaciated dead bear would not been nearly as effective). Mittermeier claims they knew when they filmed the bear that he was sick or injured, but Nicklon presented it as an effect of climate change regardless. Mittermeier now says National Geographic simply “went too far” with their video caption (“This is what climate change looks like“), that she and Nicklan “lost control of the narrative.”

Actually, what they lost was their humanity.

Here are some excerpts (my bold):

“Photographer Paul Nicklen and I are on a mission to capture images that communicate the urgency of climate change. Documenting its effects on wildlife hasn’t been easy. With this image, we thought we had found a way to help people imagine what the future of climate change might look like. We were, perhaps, naive. The picture went viral—and people took it literally.

Paul spotted the polar bear a year ago on a scouting trip to an isolated cove on Somerset Island in the Canadian Arctic [August 2017]. He immediately asked me to assemble our SeaLegacy SeaSwat team. SeaLegacy, the organization we founded in 2014, uses photography to spread the message of ocean conservation; the SeaSwat team is a deployable unit of storytellers who cover urgent issues. The day after his call our team flew to an Inuit village on Resolute Bay.There was no certainty that we would find the bear again or that it would still be alive.

…Only when it lifted its head were we able to spot it lying on the ground, like an abandoned rug, nearly lifeless. From the shape of its body, it seemed to be a large male.

We needed to get closer; we boarded a Zodiac boat and motored to land. Strong winds covered our noise and smell. From the shelter of one of the empty buildings, we watched the bear. He didn’t move for almost an hour. When he finally stood up, I had to catch my breath. Paul had warned me about the polar bear’s condition, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. The bear’s once white coat was molted and dirty. His once robust frame was skin and bones. Every step that he took was pained and slow. We could tell he was sick or injured and that he was starving. We could see that he was probably in his last days.

I took photographs, and Paul recorded video.

When Paul posted the video on Instagram, he wrote, “This is what starvation looks like.” He pointed out that scientists suspect polar bears will be driven to extinction in the next century. He wondered whether the global population of 25,000 polar bears would die the way this bear was dying. …

National Geographic picked up the video and added subtitles. It became the most viewed video on National Geographic’s website—ever. … The mission was a success, but there was a problem: We had lost control of the narrative. The first line of the National Geographic video said, “This is what climate change looks like”—with “climate change” highlighted in the brand’s distinctive yellow. In retrospect, National Geographic went too far with the caption.

Perhaps we made a mistake not telling the full story—that we were looking for a picture that foretold the future.

We had sent a “gut-wrenching” image out into the world. We probably shouldn’t have been surprised that people didn’t pick up on the nuances we tried to send with it. Yet we were shocked by the response.”

Read the rest here.

What kind of people sit around for days knowing an animal is suffering an agonizingly slow death and do nothing but plan how to use that suffering animal to make money? Callous and self-absorbed people.

Not only did Nicklen and Mittermeier cold-bloodedly exploit a defenseless, suffering animal without a thought to ending its pain, they still think that what they did was noble and self-sacrificing (they were “on a mission”). They apparently think that their advocacy for climate change relieved them of the responsibility of being humane.

They still don’t understand that many people were as sickened by their lack of compassion as by the film footage itself.  People were also angry that Nicklen and Mittermeier misrepresented the situation: by their own admission, they knew the bear was sick, yet peddled their images as climate change tragedy porn anyway.

Their response to the public backlash (“National Geographic went too far”) is laughable. They just don’t get it: their actions did real damage to their cause.

Bottom line: A polar bear needlessly died a slow, miserable death because of heartless climate change advocacy and it made the public angry.


1. As I pointed out in my State of the Polar Bear Report (Crockford 2018), cancer can cause the kind of profound muscle wasting exhibited by this polar bear. Muscle wasting is more than simply not having enough to eat:  it is the body consuming itself, drawing on all energy reserves to try and fight the illness.


Crockford, S.J. 2018. State of the Polar Bear Report 2017. Global Warming Policy Foundation Report #29. London. pdf here.

Dr. Crockford also has a summary of why dying polar bears is mostly fake news, well worth the read:

Cooling the polar bear spin


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This is what Climate Hustle looks like.

The radical enviros are typically dishonest – “any lie is OK, if it supports the Cause”.

As a general observation:
Eco-extremism is the new “front” for economic Marxists, who were discredited after the fall of the Soviet Union circa 1990.

Read Dr. Patrick Moore’s essay, “Hard Choices for the Environmental Movement”, written in 1994, especially “The Rise of Eco-Extremism”

I have corresponded with Patrick on this essay and I think he “nailed it”. So did he.

Regards, Allan

Michael Schäfer

Leave the Marxists out. They have nothing to do with this. Those folks are just callous and self-absorbed people, ike the article correctly states – and they are by no way Marxists, because Marx would never have supported such sadistic, egomaniacal behaviour.

honest liberty

oh, he wouldn’t would he?

surely you aren’t familiar with the man to some degree, I mean, you couldn’t possibly make that statement if you did even a few seconds of research

Thank you HL

This video by Stefan Molyneux describes Karl Marx as an incompetent, dishonest, cheating, thieving, repulsive, hypocritical and parasitic POS.

In summary, Stefan describes “Das Kapital” by Marx as “a diet book with Jabba the Hutt on the cover”. He was being kind to Marx – the man was a despicable rat.

It is ironic that Marx’s tomb is (to some) a shrine in London, where he died in exile. The tomb was relocated and a bust erected of Marx in 1956 by the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Attaboys all around.

Further irony is that in 2006 my friend Bob Lamond was moved to rehabilitate the dilapidated Edinburgh tomb of Adam Smith, a true intellectual hero who wrote “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,”.

I suggest that this book by Adam Smith is one of the greatest and most positively influential treatises of all time.

In 2008, a statue of Adam Smith was finally erected on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh by the Adam Smith Institute.

Finally! 🙂

According to wiki, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” is the second-most-cited book in the social sciences published before 1950, behind Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital”

Given that the followers of Marx killed about 130 million of their own people in the 20th Century, does anyone else find it distressing that “Das Kapital” is cited more often than “The Wealth of Nations”?

Does this reflect the nature of our current crop of academics, that they think it is OK to follow the teachings of Karl Marx, who was a monster in his private life and created mega-killers though his teachings?

Can’t anyone learn from history? Do we have to do this all over again?

Life is precious – it is the greatest possible gift – but it is all too often destroyed by scoundrels and imbeciles.

Regards to all, Allan

Quelle surprise!!!

The Greens (aka watermelons) are pigs! Who knew? I think we all did.

Their fearless leaders like Al Gore and the Hollywood mugs live on huge estates with carbon footprints the size of a large town, and get their private jets to deliver pizza from New York to LA. Their followers, the sheeple, are so stupid they will do anything their leaders say, including acting like total pigs – doing what comes naturally.

Bemused Bill

To the humorously delusional M. Shafer….what a load of crap. I’m not sure what your bizarre defense of Marxists is all about? Are you some kind of nut?
To everyone else, it probably hasnt escaped your attention, but I’ll say it anyway … this vile persons comments state that the current number of polar bears is 25,000, well I say more but nevertheless, the first polar bear count was in 1955 and the number of bears counted then was 5,000. And the number has increased every count since.

Curious George

That’s what compassionate environmentalism is.


It is also, I suspect, a fate that many “environmentalists” would like to see inflicted on “skeptics”.

Louis Hooffstetter

All I could think was God, how sad, how cruel…
‘Cause I know the film crew could give this bear a sandwich.


“Perhaps we made a mistake not telling the full story—that we were looking for a picture that foretold the future.” oh, no, it’s perfectly OK to blatently lie if its for the right cause.

All of the ‘coming climate change catastrophe’
is fake news supported by junk science.

Why should any polar bear story be different?

I don’t understand how people count polar bears,
since they all look the same to me,
with few exceptions, or why they are counted.

Who pays for that?

How about counting homeless people,
and helping them out,
with their drug and alcohol addiction issues,
using all the money saved
by NOT studying polar bears,
and NOT playing computer games
to make wrong wild guesses
of the future climate?

Or does that make too much sense?

I don’t understand the passion for polar bears
— it’s an animal that would kill humans
and eat them, if hungry.

The seals they eat seem a lot nicer.

My climate blog:


They say truth will out: but this seems a bit of a damp squib. Hardly a Facebook winner. Meanwhile the damage has been done and it is here that the dice are severely loaded against the so called sceptics.

Ben of Houston

I have to disagree, this actually got several people I know to begin to doubt NG. It’s clearly one bear that even to the untrained eye is extremely ill. Hyping this up as climate change had a bit of a backlash. This isn’t a family of undernourished bears, or a trend of increased starvation. It clearly doesn’t show what is being claimed. People who could see that first bit began to question.

You need to try for the silver lining, my friend.


Facebook has a little problem today !!

“Zuck loses billions in one day as Facebook shares take steepest plunge for public company in history”

” social media giant’s shares plunged 19% erasing over $119 billion in market cap in just one day, the most ever for a public company, according to our partners at WSJ Market Data Group. ”

…Ouch !!

Marcus – I am sure the quotes are accurate.
But it is SO not my problem.

I assume that The Zuck isn’t looking for philanthropy for the cost of his next cup of tea.
Let alone feeding any offspring he has [I don’t follow the Hatch, Match & Despatch of our beloved oligarchs closely].



That was my cell phone.

Ben Gunn

Too late I cancelled my subscription

Ralph Knapp

So, it was a con job?? 🙂 The devil you say!

Steve O

They didn’t lose control of the narrative. They TOOK control of the narrative.

But I think if they’d have shot the bear to end it’s suffering, it would have made the video even more emotionally powerful.


They were probably afraid of what PETA would say if they euthanized the bear.


yeah PETA prefer to euthanase peoples pets
and theyd be wildly happy if they could euthanase the owners as well


It is worse than that, much bigger problem. They don’t know what they are doing. (It makes good story). I think I first heard this in the early 1990s, nothing to do with climate or polar bears.

“Until then, when we come across a scene like this one, we will again share it with the world—and take pains to be sure that our intentions are clear and the narrative remains our own.” Some apology! Who taught these people?


An absolute blunder on many levels, the least of which should be “How does this effect their credibility”.
Future actions will demonstrate what lessons they chose to learn from this event.


you can’t affect something you don’t have….what credibility?

Indeed as we long suspected

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Lies


Indeed, and it’s also worth the life of the bear in question apparently.

I mean, my thought process is that if the photogs were/are so convinced of polar bear population fragility, shouldn’t they have at least spared a single thought to how they might help this one? Instead, if you take their account at face value, the idea of helping never seems to have been even considered.

Seriously, wouldn’t it have been a more compassionate story to show the “heroic efforts” of the nature photographers to save the life of one poor starving animal. Of course, active intervention would quickly have proven that there was no climate change boogeyman to blame, but rather, natural causes…and that’s just not on message, is it!?!




No one is allowed to feed wildlife, so they could not reasonably have “saved” the bear by feeding it.

What they should have done was called the nearest conservation officer (virtually every community in the north has one) and they would have euthanized the bear and arranged a necropsy. SeaLegacy could probably still have gotten their video but it would have spared the bear days of suffering and provided scientific evidence of what kind of illness kills bears. A win/win.

So why didn’t they?

Conservation officers euthanize sick and injured animals all the time, it’s part of their job. It should have been done in this case.

Bryan A

Well surely Self Sacrifice would have been considered an act of courage and not viewed as feeding the bear. Now which one to volunteer to become Polar Bear Chow?



Thank you for the clarification. I didn’t realize (or think through) that feeding would be illegal, but that makes perfect sense.

I do maintain that’s it’s hypocrisy to claim you care so much, yet leave an animal to suffer without taking action…in this case notifying the appropriate authorities. But, I suppose that was your point too.

Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work.




And if they had made money and fame off the images of a starving bear, that too would have been acceptable with a slight touch of regret.

Eric Elsam

Why let compassion interfere with THE CAUSE?


It did not faze me since I’ve been boycotting National Geographic for several years now.


Sorry, but this is how nature works. The bear dies slowly. We kill the bear to make ourselves feel good, not to help the bear.

Clyde Spencer

While it might seem humane to terminate the bear, an argument might be made to let nature take its course. That is, let it play out as it would had the bear not been spotted. If we start killing bears or other animals that appear sick or weak we are then confronted with the ethical decision of just how sick or weak they have to be before they are put down. We don’t have the luxury of having a veterinarian examine the animal to determine the problem or the prognosis for survival. We also have the ethical problem of just where on the hierarchy of life we stop intervening. Do we snuff out an injured ant? Or do we limit our intervention to mammals? If so, why?

If a hunter wounds an animal, then I think that they have a moral responsibility to try to find the animal and limit its suffering because the hunter caused the pain. However, if a human is not responsible for an animal’s pain, we should view it as nature and evolution at work. Can we justify killing a wolf or lion eating its prey while it is still alive to stop the pain of the prey?

The Deplorable Vlad the Impaler

OK, I know I’m not a vet, or even very medically astute. But I’m still struck by this question:

It would seem they had the resources to ferry people into the area. That being a given, would it have been that hard to find a vet, who could have done some type of assessment on this animal? Obviously, we do not know if this was simple starvation, or if there was a pathogen, or whatever … … … but to simply sit there, and think, ‘this is how we can sell climate change propaganda … ‘ is something I am unable to express in words.

IF … … … and I want to emphasize IF … … … this bear was starving, and otherwise viable, a small amount of food left for it, close enough for it to sustain itself, until it could reach a natural food resource, would have been in order, in my opinion. Again, obviously, the compassionate thing to do is get someone knowledgeable to do some kind, ANY kind of an assessment, and proceed from there.

I fully understand that the bear might have just been elderly (like me), suffering some disease, or … who knows what. And, I would not be in favor of creating a state of dependency for the bear by leaving TOO much fodder. But what we see here, is reprehensible.

National Geographic, from now on, I shall only refer to you as National PORNographic.


Wild animals are not pets. There is no reason to “assess” the situation. Leave it alone. That is what the philosophy of Game and Fish here is—nature will take its course. Only if there is a special reason (animal has broken leg and is stuck in your backyard) will they intervene. Nature can handle nature. We have enough problems handling ourselves.

Agree that it is deplorable to throw in the climate change lie. “This is what starvation looks like” was accurate. This is part of nature would have been adequate. Of course, it would not sell magazines.


They haven’t sold me a NG for over 10 years!


I can beat that!
Certainly Thirty years since I bought any NG ‘stuff’ – magazine, cute toys, ‘apps’ [still not shtunningly shure what those are, in truth].



agree with all you’ve said Sheri, but I’d add had another predator happened across this animal it would have ended it pretty quickly. Humans can be predators too. Had it been me with a firearm there I’d have done as I’ve done before with other injured animals and ended it (and I’d probably have done my own curiosity driven necropsy too, as I’ve done before) – Despite being a shooter I’m not a fan of killing and loathe seeing things suffer – but that’s all part of the tangled up morality I live with where empathy meets reality on this planet where to live means something else must die.

To take advantage of another though, nope – my moral compass certainly doesn’t permit that.



I had similar thoughts (noted above). I feel like the actions of the photographer(s) was/were completely inconsistent with their beliefs (or, what I perceive their beliefs to be). Hard to have a lot of respect based on what’s being described here.


Michael Jankowski

Gee Clyde, you are really battling with the concept of “snuffing out an injured ant?” What do you mean, “If we start killing…animals that appear sick or weak?” We do it all of the time. It doesn’t take a veterinarian’s examination to see what was happening in that video.

Clyde Spencer

Michael Jankowski,
Actually, I don’t have a problem with killing ants. I do it all the time. However, some people do. If society is going to have policies on how to handle various situations, then I think that all viewpoints and arguments need to be considered. Some people are alright with abortion, others are not. Therefore, we need social agreements (laws) that cover under what circumstances life may be taken willfully. We need definitions that all can live with. That is, is taking the life of an unborn baby equivalent to taking the life of an undead cadaver? Leaving it up to an individual to make the call will incense some.

The bear was obviously very weak. But, I don’t consider myself qualified to judge whether it was beyond any hope of recovering. If someone who was not a vet’ were to make that decision they may well run afoul of the law because there are strict regulations for hunting bears. In some places I believe that only Inuits may take a bear. So, I agree with Sheri that the appropriate thing to do is to stand back and not intervene, despite how much you may empathize with the bear’s suffering.

You didn’t respond to my question about whether or not humans should kill predators if they inflict pain on their prey. It is a slippery slope you are defending.

Geoff Sherrington

Give up reliance on regulatory solutions and work more earnestly to reduce bureaucratic interference. Geoff.

Bryan A

We also apparently don’t have the resource of a Necropsy to determine just what lead to the poor condition of that bear in the first place. Like Susan indicated, if the bear had cancer, shame on Nat Geo for making it a Climate Scare Story


“Let nature take its course” It’s interesting how we don’t apply that same logic to humans or our pets and livestock. But what exactly is “nature”? Why should we care about it? Hasn’t “nature” made us humans too? Why then aren’t our actions “natural”? Who says so? We? Aren’t “nature”, “ethics”, “rights”, and “morals” all human inventions? Obviously we can’t go running around in a forest trying to help every bird and frog, but I don’t see anything wrong in ending the suffering of an animal that you came across, though I don’t think we have somekind of “moral responsibility” to do so. Otherwise we should be policing the forests and putting bears, wolves, and other predators to jail. It’s like there are two completely different worlds which shouldn’t interact which each other, even though they constantly do.


It’s not separate. We apply what we do to humans, livestock and “nature” equally. We prevent human suffering as much as possible because we care about each other. Animals will defend and protect each other. We keep our livestock alive to make money or get benefit from them, we destroy them when we no longer can benefit or their suffering is more than we are comfortable watching. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m guessing Game and Fish says to leave animals be because if we allowed interference, poaching, wild animal keeping, etc would skyrocket. Some people find it intolerable to watch an animal suffer. I just want us to be honest and say that we do these things for our comfort, nothing more. The animal does not care, it will care even less after it dies. WE care.

Partly for our comfort, yes but in this case, the bear could have been a danger to any unsuspecting person who set foot on the island. He was strong enough to swim away, so was probably strong enough to kill a child (if not an adult).

I wasn’t suggesting the SeaLegacy people should have dispatched the bear. The “leave it be” advise would also apply in Canada, I believe, in most cases. But in *this* case, calling the local conservation officer to dispatch a potentially dangerous animal would have been the right thing to do: it would have been humane for the bear while also dealing with the human safety issue.


If he was a danger, then there would be a reason to destroy the bear. It wasn’t clear that the bear could inflict damage on someone.

Just because it wasn’t clear to you that the bear could inflict damage does not mean it could not. Starving polar bears are very dangerous animals because they are desperate. Notice the SeaLegacy folks watched and filmed from a position of safety.

What if a local family boated up to the beach and discovered only afterwards that the starving bear was there – because it had killed one of their children?

That’s a good reason for reporting a starving bear – ending the bear’s suffering is another.

Clyde Spencer


Clearly, there is a vast difference between humans and all ‘lower’ creatures, even though we are all subject to similar restraints. That is why most people make the distinction between “natural” and “anthropogenic.”

It is generally thought that humans are the only creatures that can contemplate their own death, and have religious beliefs that supersede what would happen without intervention in what is inevitable for all living things. Also, being the top predator, we are also the only creature capable of at-will termination of a life we rationalize should be terminated. Choosing to euthanize an animal (or human) suffering, is a power that only humans have. Some argue against it for humans as a sin; others say they should have the right to choose their own timing for the inevitable, whether they are in pain or not. In any event, I think that the termination of a life is more of a rationalization than a logical decision. If killing a single sick human would prevent a pandemic endangering all humanity, I would consider that a logical decision. Would I put down my own pet that I thought was suffering? Probably. Yet, I would have to live with the realization that it was not capable of asking me to do so, and I may be making a decision it didn’t really want.

These are not things that should be taken lightly or answered glibly. As Socrates was fond of saying, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It is my opinion that people are too quick to act without thinking about the broader, long-term consequences of their act. My own mantra for living is, “Think about what the world would be like if everyone were to act as I’m about to act.”

Bryan A

Though there are some religions that follow that very precept WRT their families. If they are meant to survive cancer, God will heal them.

I find myself essentially agreeing with Clyde Spencer’s perspective of letting Nature take its course, except, given the particular animal in question — its iconic symbolism for a false narrative — I think the most ethical thing to have done would have been to put it down, if for no other reason than to prevent some other person of questionable integrity from abusing the plight of nature by creating something more out of a natural dying process than it was.

The abuse was framing human CO2 for Nature’s “murder”, and conflating the emotions of tragic natural death with the emotions of climate change — in effect, equating the two falsely.

And, again, would we make the same argument of natural death, if a starving child in another country were the focus?

It’s a more tangled ethical issue than it first might appear. If we can help a starving child, then why not a starving polar bear? Or ant? Or flea? Common sense dictates the answers to these questions. And I think common sense here would dictate putting the bear down — by whomever spotted it first.

As I said above, starving polar bears are very dangerous animals because they are desperate.

What if a local family boated up to the beach and discovered only afterwards that the starving bear was there – because it had killed one of their children?

That’s a good reason for reporting a starving bear – ending the bear’s suffering is another.


Polar bears can be darn near invisible in whiteout conditions. There are stories about polar bears popping up out of nowhere and whacking someone’s head off.

As you well know, but most don’t, a polar bear is dangerous in almost any condition. If it rolls over in its sleep it can kill you.

Ian Stirling’s crew had a ten foot pole with a bayonet attached to the end. They would tranquilize the bear with a dart and the bear would lie down for a nap. They would prod it from a safe distance to make sure it was really really really asleep. Only then would they approach more closely and tag the bear.

Clyde Spencer


Thank you for the moral support. However, I feel compelled to point out that your rationalization for putting the bear down is political, not a concern about the bear. As Sheri initially remarked, we often make decisions about animals based on our concerns, not concerns about the animal.

You ask some hard questions about how to deal with pain and suffering. Most times, humans make decisions based on feelings, and the decisions are not always in the best interest of the individual or the species. Humans generally try to keep everyone alive, even if they will never be able to live a normal life. Thus, defective genes remain in the gene pool. An animal might just eat their defective offspring and try again. Thus, humans start becoming dependent on their technology to keep people healthy and alive. I don’t know that there is any good solution to the problem, short of living like the Spartans. But, the former high rate of mortality of children, which has been reduced through antibiotics and surgery, leads to humans that probably are not as tough and resilient as formerly. I’m impressed that the Lewis and Clark expedition only carried a laxative and rum as medicinal aids for their 2 1/2 year expedition. They lost one man to appendicitis, and that was all, despite having a poor diet and no Gore-Tex or down clothing. Few professional athletes today would be able to do what the L&C expedition did. That is probably because only the toughest made it to adulthood. I’m also reminded of a story about a Mountain Man so badly mauled by a grizzly bear, that his party didn’t expect him to survive. They didn’t put him down, which was the Christian thing to do, but left him to die. He crawled 500 miles to the nearest army fort, eating grasshoppers and anything else that he could catch by hand. What kept him going was that he wanted to kill the guys who left him behind! Moral decisions aren’t always easy.

Yes, Clyde, the first reason that I stated for putting the bear down was, indeed, political. And there are ethical decisions in political motivation too.

I think that a multitude of reasons would lead many rational people to the decision to put the bear down:

(1) As Susan said, a starving bear is particularly dangerous, and so killing it would reduce the danger.

(2) The bear appeared to be in a particularly extreme phase of suffering, and, according to one line of philosophical thinking, humans, who have the capacity to reduce suffering of lower animals, are morally justified to make a humane decision to kill the bear to fulfill this moral principle. Why not save a dying flea, you ask — well, a flea is a flea, while a bear is a bear — size, symbolism, … other reasons that cause us humans to place one animal above another — aesthetic decision? maybe?

(3) The bear was a political target subject to information abuse, just as National Geographic proved.

Humans are parts of nature too. Our sentiments, then, would seem to be a parts of nature. Selective application of those sentiments, then, are not unnatural. If I am moved by suffering to end it, then it is my natural instinct to follow through. Luck of the draw for whatever suffering animal might cross my

I would not rescue an animal being eaten alive by another animal, because there seems to be more of a reason for the eaten animal’s suffering in that moment — it’s end is also eminent in a rather short time, whereas, with the starving bear, there is less reason and a less eminent end in sight. The particular circumstances of suffering dictate the particular reaction. In the case of the polar bear here, there seems to be a converging multitude of reasons leading to the same conclusion — to kill the bear, end its suffering, end the danger to others, etc.

Brian H



This is similar to poverty porn. It’s disgusting. It’s bad taste on warp drive. People are starting to push back.

There is a group of activists who depend for their paychecks on soliciting donations. It is unsurprising that they often go too far.

John Schwartz

“We probably shouldn’t have been surprised that people didn’t pick up on the nuances we tried to send with it. Yet we were shocked by the response.”

Condescension, much.

Ed Zuiderwijk

An exercise in narcissism.

Good thing they don’t do things like this with starving kids, right?


Non Nomen

Are you sure?


I was being sarcastic. I presume they do it. To what extent, I don’t know.


Non Nomen

I presume they do it.

So do I. I’ve been uber-sarcastic…

Hoyt Clagwell

“He wondered whether the global population of 25,000 polar bears would die the way this bear was dying.”
I’m curious, exactly how does he think polar bears die now, or have died in the past? Or does he think polar bears never died until climate change came along? And how does he think polar bears will die if he manages to put an end to all climate change somehow?

Non Nomen

I got very good news for the scaremongers: they can tell the world that all these cuddly polar bears are going to die! Some of illness, some of old age, some killed in accidents, but they’ll all be dead some day. What a cruel world.

Clyde Spencer

And what does a bear look like that is dying of old age? They don’t all suddenly die in their sleep while in fit condition!


“….how does he think polar bears die now, or have died in the past?”
Arctic foxes used to band together in packs once a year; swim out to the ice floes and efficiently dispose of aging polar bears. That’s why floating ice is called pack ice. Ocean acidification has since made this foxy practice unbearable! Hence the origin of the term Vulpinic acid.

Non Nomen

Very satisfying to see the facts coming through. But I doubt that the opportunistic msm will pay the same attention to truth as to the lies.


Australia’s ABC will be deathly silent. Can’t risk damaging The Narrative©


Well… If it wasn’t Climate Change wot killed da bear, then it musta bin plastic drinking straws wot dun it…. yup, yup, yup.

Mumbles McGuirck

“the SeaSwat team is a deployable unit of storytellers who cover urgent issues.”

Well, there you have it. A special, mobile unit to make up fables on the fly. What else would you expect they’d come up with?
Besides, isn’t it spelled “deplorable”?

deplorable unit of bold-face liars.

Yeah, it’s me again — I’m jumping in to trash them all over this blog post, because of its disgust factor.

I subscribed to National Geographic (Irrational Geographic) for lots of years in my teens and early twenties, mainly for the photos. Thankfully, I rarely read the articles.

I just did a Bing search of the phrase, “national geographic lied about starving polar bear”, and all I see are stories that treat the original story and video as truth. So, even Bing is slow on this one, … or in denial like Google.


Robert – did you try a google search on those words?
The results I got weren’t too bad….

► national+geographic+lied+about+starving+polar+bear

#1 – WUWT – SHOCKER: National Geographic admits they were wrong about …
(probably top result due your comment that includes the search terms!!)

#2 – NatGeo – Starving-Polar-Bear Photographer Recalls What Went Wrong

#3 – NatGeo – Heart-Wrenching Video Shows Starving Polar Bear on Iceless Land (original report, 2017)

#4 – NatGeo – (same as result #2)

#5 – DailyMaverick – Polar Bears: How a video can tell a lie

#6 – NewYorkPost – Starving polar bear probably didn’t die from climate change

#7 – Landscapes&Cylces (Jim Steele) – Polar Bear Gate A picture is worth a thousand Lies

Try that Bing search again. 🙂

Mumbles McGuirck

I have this image of the noble band of storytellers racing up to dying polar bear. They squat next to it and begin, “I remember this time my Uncle Joe and I were out ice fishing. Boy, it was cold that winter, let me tell you…”
And the bear thinks to itself, “Thank God! At least I won’t die … of boredom.”

[Or the bear thinks to itself, “Oh my God! And now I’m gonna die even more slowly … of boredom.” .mod]

Or the bear thinks to itself, “Oh my God! I knew death would be painful, but I never conceived it could be such torture as these babbling humans make it. Please let it be over now. Shut the F up, and let me die in peace.”


One big lie replaced with a pretty big lie

“While science has established that there is a strong connection between melting sea ice and polar bears dying off, “

Non Nomen

They try again and again and again. We ought to be used to it, but we better shouldn’t.

Hard to sell pictures of fat healthy polar bears not connected to ‘climate change’, This is what ‘climate change doesn’t look like’ … that just won’t go viral, nor will the news that the population of polar is increasing.


Their article was simply CONfirmation Bias at its worse.

Bruce Cobb

“This is what climate change looks like”

No, this is what LYING looks like.


The ends justify the means. Nothing new for this ilk.

Clyde Spencer

Actually, the end always justifies the means. What is egregious is that some feel that their crusade is so important that the end justifies ANY means.


The Afghan girl was right to be nervous.

Andre Dn Tandt

Dear National Geographic,
What a mealy-mouthed excuse for an apology:
” We PROBABLY shouldn’t have been surprised…”
” PERHAPS ” we made a mistake…”
” while science has established that there is a strong connection…”
I remember the National Geographic of over 60 years ago. Brings to mind “Oh Hamlet, what a falling off was there “.
An apology like that is much worse than doing nothing.

Lee Riffee

I remember the National Geographic when I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s – it is quite true how the mighty have fallen…… Sadly today IMO the only “good” thing about the magazine is that it still boasts some very impressive and beautiful photography. And no, I’m not including the dying polar pic in with that assessment. So yeah, admire the photos in the magazine but don’t bother reading the text; or if you do – take it with a HUGE grain of salt!

… and take a thorough hot shower afterwards.

spalding craft

“An apology like that is much worse than doing nothing.”

I’m afraid you’re right. This “apology” gives NG another chance to keep the issue alive and to get in a few licks on “denialists” in the same stroke. I would like to know more about reader comments – i.e. how many comments simply took the bait and how many were skeptics who condemned this blatant propaganda effort.

More important is the disturbing turn made by a once great magazine. I suspect the reason is that indulging in climate propaganda is the most sure-fire method of selling magazines. Cute animals have a huge audience, particularly when the meme is indifferent humans causing animal extinction.


Science, 1. Prophecy (inference), 0.


“…he made no attempt to find a local conservation officer to euthanize the bear, which would have been the right thing to do.”
Right thing, why ?


Didn’t even make sense unless she thinks the media would spin it appropriately. Her own words

“Photographer Paul Nicklen and I are on a mission to capture images that communicate the
urgency of climate change. ”

” He pointed out that scientists suspect polar bears will be driven to extinction in the next century.

Poor bear.

… lose control of the narrative

What a round about way of saying, “We flat-out lied.” I think I’ll start using this line, whenever I need to gain something at the expense of the truth.

“No, dear, I did not sleep with that other woman.” LATER: “I lost control of the narrative.”

Does this line really make forgiving such a serious lie any easier? I think NOT.

Let’s go to a country with starving, diseased children now. Do recon for a year to find the perfect specimen. Find a sickly, emaciated, staggering, fly-covered, hungry five-year-old. Do we try to help? No, you stupid ass, we call a prize-winning film crew to set up shop and start a production. Can we, at least, give the child some water? No, dumb ass, that would detract from the realism, reducing the symptoms that sustain the image that we wish to capture, reducing the impact of the message we want to send. What message is that? — This is what CO2 is doing to the Earth.

… cutting edge documentary making. Give these people an award.

… insensitive, heartless, cruel, self-focused, arrogant, shortsighted, narcissistic sons of bitches.

And now for what I REALLY think:

John M

You must be mistaken.

I just checked my Google news aggregator and the only citations about this bear are the original article and other related news items about this “viral” and heartbreaking video.

Since Google news is completely neutral and aims to only report real news, you should check your source.


Lee Riffee

So I guess no polar bears have ever died of disease, old age, injury or a combination of these…. The reason you are more likely to see a polar bear struggling along like this (as opposed to a lion, a hyena or other large predator) is that not only is the polar bear the apex predator of its domain, it is also the only large land (or ice) based predator. In other words, in the African Savannah, a lion would likely be taken out by a pack of hyenas before it even got to this severe a condition. There are no other animals (other than another polar bear) that could kill and eat a sickly adult polar bear. Well, unless it fell into the water, where it might fall prey to a Greenland shark.

Also, I wonder how they reason that polar bears as a species managed to survive much warmer time periods than the present? How did they persist during the MWP when it was possible to grow crops in Iceland? But of course that doesn’t fit with the “climate change” narrative….


“There are no other animals (other than another polar bear) that could kill and eat a sickly adult polar bear. ”
Drop bears?


no trees


More climate alarmism fraud, plain and simple. For another example, on the topic of Pacific islands being doomed by sea leavel rise check out this beauty…


Love how they blame the backlash on people just not understanding the “nuances”, like we just don’t get their edgy truthiness.

William Astley

Take away reason and responsibility and what do you get?

A) Polar Bear Fake News to drive CAGW (How much money have we wasted on CAGW?)

Polar bear populations are still growing despite global warming, according to new research.

The new population estimates from the 2016 Scientific Working Group are somewhere between 22,633 to 32,257 bears, which is a net increase from the 2015 number of 22,000 to 31,000. The current population numbers are a sharp increase from 2005’s, which stated only 20,000 to 25,000 bears remained — those numbers were a major increase from estimates that only 8,000 to 10,000 bears remained in the late 1960s.
Until the new study, bear subpopulations in the Baffin Bay and Kane Basin (KB) were thought to be in decline due to over-hunting and global warming. The new report indicates this is not the case.

Scientists are increasingly realizing that polar bears are much more resilient to changing levels of sea ice than environmentalists previously believed, and numerous healthy populations are thriving.

Predictions that bears would die due to a lack of sea ice have continuously not come to pass. Recent rumors about polar bear extinction underscore another time when scientists discovered the creatures possess higher resilience to changing levels of sea ice than previously believed. Another new study by Canadian scientists found “no evidence” polar bears are currently threatened by global warming.

“We see reason for concern, but find no reliable evidence to support the contention that polar bears are currently experiencing a climate crisis,” Canadian scientists wrote in their study, published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Polar bears became an icon for environmentalists who claimed that melting Arctic sea ice could kill thousands of bears. Former Vice President Al Gore heavily promoted this viewpoint by featuring polar bears swimming for their lives and drowning in his 2006 film on global warming.

Fears about global warming’s impact on polar bears even spurred the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to say that the bear was “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. Polar bears were the first species to be listed over possibly being harmed in the future by global warming.

Scientists, however, have increasingly been questioning alarmists as there are way more polar bears alive today than 40 years ago.

In fact, polar bears have likely survived past ice-free periods in the Arctic. There is no evidence of large scale marine life extinctions in the Arctic in the past 1.5 million years, despite the Arctic going through prolonged periods with no summer ice cover.

B) Democrat’s game plan.

Satirical Ocasio-Cortez ‘interview’


Quote – “While science has established that there is a strong connection between melting sea ice and polar bears dying off,…”
Really? As the temperature warmed and the ice melted somewhat, polar bear populations quintupled. Just what is it that “science” was able to garner from this process that I’m missing?

Bruce Cobb

“Science has established” = get ready for a big, whopper of a lie.

John Minich

This reminds me of a news report of some “!!!!!” who took a horse to a remote area, hobbled it, tied it to a post and left it there to die. By the time someone else came along, the horse was dead. I put this kind of “environmentalist” on the same level. It is going to take me a while to calm down after this.


I guess that’s how it goes at the top of the food chain. Sick bunnies on the other hand don’t stay around long enough for even the SeaSwat Team to get there.

Clyde Spencer

And there are some who speculate that ‘Mad Cow Disease’ was kept in check in ungulates by wolves weeding out the sick that couldn’t run away. Everything seemed in reasonable balance before humans started making decisions on what things should be killed that weren’t actually food. No action is without consequences. I call it the social corollary to Newton’s Third Law.


Headline is in bold font above the fold, retraction is a month later on B9 under the tire ad. Where was NatGeo’s retraction?

Martin A

Noble cause corruption.


It’s because they care for a greater good.


Not caring for NG’s snooty climate change junk reporting we cancelled out subscription years ago. Feeling good about trees saved and chemicals not used in a journal we were no longer enjoying.


What, so another fraudulent representation of global warming is something knew? Dont you just love the squirm when they’re caught out “fudging” the truth!

son of mulder

” While science has established that there is a strong connection between melting sea ice and polar bears dying off”

And where did they get this gem from?

I don’t really see any admission that they were wrong here.


Glad to see the bears doing well!

In the meantime, I posit this. Gov. LePage please take note:

Start monitoring the waste coming into Maine from Massachusetts. Specifically at Casella facilities….👍

So we have the greenest states of them all… California and Massachusetts with NY in a tie for second.

Yesiree, them recycling, clean, green fraud money makin machines.

Problem is, they have raped us all on unreliable, intermittent, renewable frauds.

The giant momey states impose their will on their smaller neighbors to do just the opposite while wall street and cronies legislators make billions.

China just put them in their place. Keep your garbage. We’re going green too.

Okie dokie…the most recent effort of one of these states fucking over the little one next door is Ma vs. Me.

Yup these hypocrite environmental terrorists have big law firms and senators in their pockets and now want to plant windmills on the majestic peaks of Maine that the locals who are not tree huggers oppose. It’s easy to pick on poor folks and use excuses like we will do something for you but end up rich and the companies go BK leaving you on the hook with tripling electric bills and paying to clean up the mess when they fail.

Obama did a great job with that! Congratulations /s.

Ok, now for the meat of the matter. Ma. has plenty of space to bury their garbage. They send it to Me to Ma. Run/owned garbage concerns. They also send up radiological and other hazardous waste, (illegally from Ma and RI.. Gee thanks Casella /s.

Of course the other export is heroin and fentanyl, illegal aliens and now fukin windmills.

wanna play hardball?

Ohio and Maine need to stop all waste imported from the greater NE region.

Time to go conservative green!

That includes states that accept Ca trash too. Hey, it a global warming thing and they have plenty of space in the Berkshires and Sonoma Valley.

Same goes for Upstate NY., CT and NH.

Don’t Tread On Us!

Make America green again! Keep you garbage to yourselves!

Like the e REC fraud, make them wallow in it. Save the waste space for for future growth. The Real Estate markets will adjust, taxes there will be exponentially higher and… The business and money will move your way.

Problem, reaction, solution.


Point in case…

So, no benefit to Maine??? This is all about hooking up useless wind turbines in Maine along the route? Yes it is.

And no, it cannot happen.

Keep your trash! Build them there on all your new landfills.

Brian H

…case in point…