Video Screenshot. Credit: Paul Nicklen

National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen's Instagram account typically features breathtakingly beautiful scenes and stories from around the globe. Whales, penguins, and polar bears make up the brunt of his latest posts, all of them the kinds of photos wildlife photographers dream of capturing.

One of his latest videos, however, is the exact opposite.

Six days ago, Nicklen shared a heart-wrenching video of a starving polar bear scrounging for food—a shadow of the powerful animal it had once been. The video has spread around the web like wildfire, a testament to the effects of global warming on this species, which some scientists believe will become extinct within the next 100 years.

"My entire @Sea_Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear," writes Nicklen in the video's caption. "It’s a soul-crushing scene that still haunts me, but I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy."

We've embedded the video from Nicklen's Instagram below, but be warned: this footage is not for the faint of heart.

My entire @Sea_Legacy team was pushing through their tears and emotions while documenting this dying polar bear. It’s a soul-crushing scene that still haunts me, but I know we need to share both the beautiful and the heartbreaking if we are going to break down the walls of apathy. This is what starvation looks like. The muscles atrophy. No energy. It’s a slow, painful death. When scientists say polar bears will be extinct in the next 100 years, I think of the global population of 25,000 bears dying in this manner. There is no band aid solution. There was no saving this individual bear. People think that we can put platforms in the ocean or we can feed the odd starving bear. The simple truth is this—if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems. This large male bear was not old, and he certainly died within hours or days of this moment. But there are solutions. We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth—our home—first. Please join us at @sea_legacy as we search for and implement solutions for the oceans and the animals that rely on them—including us humans. Thank you your support in keeping my @sea_legacy team in the field. With @CristinaMittermeier #turningthetide with @Sea_Legacy #bethechange #nature #naturelovers This video is exclusively managed by Caters News. To license or use in a commercial player please contact info@catersnews.com or call +44 121 616 1100 / +1 646 380 1615”

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The point of the video isn't just to depress animal lovers the world over. As Nicklen explains in his caption, there are solutions:

The simple truth is this—if the Earth continues to warm, we will lose bears and entire polar ecosystems. This large male bear was not old, and he certainly died within hours or days of this moment. But there are solutions. We must reduce our carbon footprint, eat the right food, stop cutting down our forests, and begin putting the Earth—our home—first.

You can see much more of Paul's work on his website and Instagram account. And if you want to learn more about what Nicklen is talking about in his caption above, visit the Sea Legacy website.