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The Truth Behind Sea Legacy

December 13, 2017

By Paul Homewood


Even the BBC seem to have woken up to the Sea Legacy scam:


It is harrowing footage. An emaciated polar bear searches for food on Baffin Island, north-eastern Canada.

Exhausted, it drags one leg slowly behind it, eventually trying to eat some discarded seating foam among rubbish humans have left.

Polar bears hunt from the sea ice, which is diminishing every year, and the photography team are certain the unfortunate animal died within days.

"This is what starvation looks like," wrote one of the photographers, Paul Nicklen. "The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death."

Mr Nicklen’s colleague, Cristina Mittermeier, said: "We cried as we filmed this dying bear. This is the face of climate change."

The clip has gone viral, widely shared as a warning about the dangers of climate change. But is there more to it?

‘Public relations exercise’

Mr Nicklen and Ms Mittermeier are co-founders of the conservation group Sea Legacy, with a declared mission to "use the power of storytelling to create the change we want to see".

Canada’s National Post newspaper argues: "These images aren’t the work of a scientist, an impartial documentarian or even a concerned bystander. They are part of a very calculated public relations exercise."

This particular animal could also simply have been sick. Biologist Jeff Higdon, writing on Twitter, speculated that it could have some form of aggressive cancer.

"It’s not starving because the ice suddenly disappeared and it could no longer hunt seals," he said. "The east Baffin coast is ice free in summer. It’s far more likely that it is starving due to health issues." However, he warned that he could not be sure.

Polar bears feed intermittently, often going long periods without food and feasting on huge quantities of seal meat and fat when available.

Leo Ikakhik, who has spent years monitoring polar bears in Canada’s Nunavut region, told CBC starving bears were not unheard of.


A white polar bear crosses the stark brown Canadian tundra in this November 2007 file photo

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Healthy bears – such as this one in Manitoba – weigh about 400kg on average


"I wasn’t totally surprised," he told the broadcaster. "These things happen. Everybody probably was shocked to see a really skinny bear, but this is not my first time seeing something like this."

He also speculated that the bear was either ill or suffering from an injury that prevented it from hunting.


The National Post has more detail about what was said by Nicklen and Mittermeier:


In an Instagram post, SeaLegacy co-founder Cristina Mittermeier called the bear the “Face of Climate Change.” Nevertheless, she acknowledged “we don’t know what caused this animal to starve.”

In an interview with the Washington Post, SeaLegacy’s Paul Nicklen was similarly reported as having “no definitive proof that the bear’s condition was connected” to climate change.”Why he was dying, I don’t know,” said Nicklen. 


The Post goes on:


A caribou or a moose is never allowed to get this skinny: Long before it gets close to starvation, a predator has usually  turned them into a meal. But if a polar bear doesn’t drown or get shot, it’s most likely going to end up looking like the bear in the photo. “Polar bears, they don’t have natural enemies, so when they die, it’s of starvation,” Steven Amstrup, chief scientist at Polar Bears International, said in 2015. And, like many other bears, such as the grizzly, polar bears sometimes go through dramatic cycles of feast and famine. “Bears can respond to improved conditions: We’ve followed bears that went from bone racks to obese over a few months,” said Derocher.

Niko Inuarak lives in Pond Inlet, NU and comes from a family of hunters and guides. He said his father Charlie was “not baffled to see a polar bear in that state” and had seen it often before. In fact, the elder Inuarak had once spotted “two polar bears together one very healthy and the other bear showing the same behaviour as in the video footage,” said Niko by email.

These images aren’t the work of a scientist, an impartial documentarian or even a concerned bystander. They are part of a very calculated public relations exercise by SeaLegacy, an organization whose stated purpose is to capture photos that drive “powerful conservation wins.” The group dispatched five expeditions in 2017, all with the goal to “trigger public and policy support for sustainable ocean solutions.”

Terry Audla is a past president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, an advocacy organization representing all Canadian Inuit. In a Sunday tweet, he called the photos a “stunt” that represented a “complete disservice to climate change science.” SeaLegacy’s social media posts about the bear also failed to mention that the images were taken in August, when ice cover naturally disappears from many polar bear habitats.

The initial reports gave the impression that Sea Legacy was just a small outfit, but in fact it has quickly grown into quite a professional organisation, with annual revenue of nearly $1 million.

Their stated mission is “to create healthy and abundant oceans”. They are particularly concerned about overfishing and pollution, as well as climate change.

But they don’t claim to offer any scientific input, instead relying on “storytelling”:




SeaLegacy 2017 Impact Report


In other words, in their fight for what they believe is right facts go out of the window. The only thing that matters is the visual storytelling, designed to impact on human emotion, and in turn raise money.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    December 13, 2017 12:03 pm

    … they don’t claim to offer any scientific input, instead relying on “storytelling”

    Or as we old hands call it: ‘Propaganda’

    And we see through it!

    • Curious George permalink
      December 13, 2017 3:32 pm

      Polar bears used to be immortal, but the climate change exposes them to hunger and diseases. Down with climate change, carbon dioxide, and Trump!

  2. Adrian permalink
    December 13, 2017 12:05 pm

    ……Sea Legacy, with a declared mission to “………….use the power of storytelling to create the change we want to see”.

    as opposed to the BBC’s obvious mission “………….use the power of misinformation, blatant distortions, our ignorance and above all YOUR money, to create the change we want to see”

    • Nigel S permalink
      December 13, 2017 1:30 pm

      And the threat of prison if you watch BBC live or iPlayer and don’t pay (don’t watch or pay, starve the beast!).

  3. Chilli permalink
    December 13, 2017 12:25 pm

    Yup – instead of whinging about this clear win by green propagandists, our side needs to be coming up with our own images and storytelling to counteract the alarmists bullsh1t – whether it’s cute animals dying due to the forests being wood-chipped in North Carolina for shipping to Drax, or a pensioner freezing this winter due green taxes on our energy bills.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      December 13, 2017 1:22 pm

      The problem is in getting a warmist dominated media to report our side of the story. Anything on pensioners dying will be hijacked by the left in the same way they are trying to hijack Grenfell Tower for cheap political shots. The story will run as pensioners dying due to Tory government cuts/austerity and profiteering by the energy companies. Note how there wasn’t much interest in following up the statement from the head of British Gas that taxes are pushing up bills. Many of the other energy companies are up to their necks in the renewable trough that they are not going to upset the government by telling the truth.

  4. dennisambler permalink
    December 13, 2017 12:43 pm

    See more “starving polar bears” here:

  5. McNeil permalink
    December 13, 2017 12:44 pm

    One polar bear amongst a population that is thriving.

    “I’ve called this practice of filming dead or dying bears and splashing the photos across the pages of newspapers and the internet “tragedy porn” — a kind of voyerism that leaves people open to emotional manipulation. The internet laps it up.” – Susan Crockford.

  6. December 13, 2017 12:56 pm

    I wouldn’t want to spend any personal time with these people, they clearly think we are all idiots.

  7. Pianomandave permalink
    December 13, 2017 1:02 pm

    I can’ intelligently comment on this photo, but don’t Polar Bears have lifespan? At the end of that lifespan don’t the die? I am sorry for that bear. If someone looked at me and compared me with a young healthy man, they would say Imlooked pretty terrible. These one off anecdotal photos are criminal.

    Last time I looked at the Polar Bear Group, the reoresentatives of all countries around the North Pole, there was no evidence of reducing populations . There are 13 groups. Inthinkn2 of these groups were reducing, several others were increasing, others were stable in population.

    They did say, however, that if temperatures increased 2deg C, it would be devastating for polar bears. I think we all agree with that. And if the Sun fell into our ocean, it would be very bad for us all. It’s all fear mongering.

  8. keith permalink
    December 13, 2017 1:03 pm

    Yes, and as usual our lazy press does no fact checking.

  9. chris moffatt permalink
    December 13, 2017 2:37 pm

    If we want data as opposed to emotion someone better do an autopsy on this bear. Let’s find out the real cause of death. If it was able to hunt (before getting this ill) wouldn’t it be out where the seals are? Remoinds me of all the similar hullabaloo about a starving bear victim of “climate change” on Svalbard a few years ago. When autopsied it turned out the bear was so old and feeble it could not hunt and didn’t have enough teeth left to eat a normal diet anyway.

  10. Publius permalink
    December 15, 2017 1:51 am

    This is a fine example of people taking someone else’s work and wrongly using it for a political agenda. Global Warming rebranded as Climate Change is the biggest political conspiracy of all time (Thats a Serious Crime in the U.S.). They just picked the wrong time to try and pull it off, like right at the start of a solar minima that now happens to be a grand solar minima. Best to invest in warm clothing its going to slowly get colder for at leat the next 20 years.

  11. Sea Legacy Rocks permalink
    December 15, 2017 9:37 pm

    Let’s not miss the bigger point in the story put out by Sea Legacy. Sea ice is vital for polar bear’s survival unless they adapt and hunt for food on land (and compete with humans). According to USGS reports, if the predicted decline in sea ice actually takes place, the world will lose nearly two-thirds of its polar bear population by the middle of the 21st century. They’re listed as a threatened species in the Endangered Species Act for a reason (because of the future prospect of survival). It may be difficult (or nearly impossible) to directly connect the demise of an individual polar bear to climate change, but the polar bear IS the face of climate change that will play out if we continue on our current path.

    Sea Legacy is dedicated to raising the awareness of the threats posed by climate change on the world’s ocean and species. 97% of the world’s climate scientists agree on the fact that human activities has caused the global temperature to rise ( What the Sea Legacy does is to show that to the general public through visual storytelling.

    • December 15, 2017 10:02 pm

      In an nutshell, absolute rubbish!

      There is no evidence that sea ice will decline. Arctic temperatures now are similar to the 1930s, and when the AMO turns cold the ice will grow again.

      There is also no evidence that polar bears will die out if the Arctic warms up. We know that the Arctic was warmer during the MWP, and for thousands of years in the Holocene optimum. Not to mention earlier even warmer periods. Polar bears managed perfectly well throughout these periods.

      And your claim of 97% of scientists is based on a fraudulent exercise.

      All you are doing (as you seem to admit) is to use emotive visual images to promote “storytelling”, in order to convince a gullible public to your views.

  12. December 16, 2017 11:19 am

    Yet more polar bear controversy…

    Date: 16/12/17 CBC Radio

    A conservation group that released footage of an emaciated polar bear has come under fire for suggesting Inuit hunters are downplaying the effects of climate change in order to protect their bottom line.


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