Heartbreaking Images Show Alaskan Polar Bears Fighting Over Plastic Trash

Heartbreaking and alarming images show 2 Alaskan Polar Bears fighting over plastic trash.

The images show a family of polar bears on the bank of a waterway and 2 cubs playing tug-of-war with sludge-filled plastic trash they found near the waterway.

Other images also show the bears placing the garbage in their mouths and trying to eat the trash.

Danny Sullivan, a photographer based in Los Angeles, captured the images.

Danny said he wants people to see the images and see how our acts as humans are affecting the lives of animals.

Sullivan said the trip to Kaktovik, Alaska, in October this year, opened his eyes to the far-reaching impact of plastic pollution and how climate change is affecting animals.

According to the World Wildlife Federation, polar bears are considered to be highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change especially in terms of their food source.

Talking about the pictures, Sullivan said, “The shots were taken in early October, in previous years that whole area would have been five foot under by then. They wouldn’t have had a chance to get to the plastic, it would’ve been buried. It was a good five degrees warmer than it should have been so the ice was actually starting to form at the end of the month, rather than the start. It shortens the window for the polar bears’ hunting season so it’s sure to have a knock on effect soon enough.”

He added, “That’s not really the point though – the plastic shouldn’t have been there in the first place. What was a plastic gallon jug doing out here in far-flung Alaska? It just goes to show that what we’re doing is having an effect everywhere. Plastic floats. This could’ve come from anywhere and now there’s every chance one of these young bears has ingested it.”

Sullivan said the polar bears ran away from their mother and played with the plastic.

Talking about why they couldn’t stop the bears, Sullivan said, “If we tried to stop them then mumma bear is going to have her say, and believe you me, she isn’t going to take any prisoners when it comes to protecting her cubs. We try and clean up when we see trash and plastic but it’s not always possible – you can’t put yourself in jeopardy. Polar bears love to investigate and explore new things and they usually do that with their mouths – I don’t know whether they swallowed any plastic but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.”

He added, “It’s sad and it’s not the only time we’ve seen litter in the most secluded, beautiful spots that are really in the middle of nowhere. This is what we’ve done to the planet and although we have the power to change it, hemp-derived bottles and other plastic substitutions aren’t mainstream yet and the corporations aren’t doing enough. We really are on a path to destroy our planet.”

He continued, “I really hope people see these photos and think ‘wow’, we really have to start changing the way we operate. Plastic rubbish has no place anywhere, but certainly not in wildlife hubs in Alaska.”

Polar bears mostly eat bearded seals, birds, whales, fish, and eggs, their current options are now becoming limited due to the effects of climate change.

In some incidents, polar bears were seen feasting on animal carcasses, food waste from human settlements, and even eat their own kind in worst-case scenarios.

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