[Ed. – In other words, the pathetic bear wasn’t an illustration of anything verifiable, except that the bear was obviously very ill. I kind of love the all-purpose reporter’s refrain: “The editors did it!” Well, yeah. But it does help the editors “do it” when the folks in the field forward attention-grabbing images without due-diligence explanations behind them.]
The original article describes, in horrifying fashion, “the polar bear clinging to life, its white hair limply covering its thin, bony frame. One of the bear’s back legs drags behind it as it walks, likely due to muscle atrophy. Looking for food, the polar bear slowly rummages through a nearby trashcan used seasonally by Inuit fishers. It finds nothing and resignedly collapses back down onto the ground.”
“We stood there crying — filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” Nicklen said.
However, in an article for the August 2018 issue of National Geographic titled “Starving-Polar-Bear Photographer Recalls What Went Wrong,” Mittermeier says that the narrative that grew up around the photograph — in particular its relation to climate change — was inaccurate.
— The Ice Age (@Jamie_Woodward_) December 8, 2017