My favorite image of my Arctic series goes out to this mother and cub, spotted from our ship from over 8 miles away by one of our naturalists. It may not look like it, but this was my most challenging photograph. We had to race over in our Zodiacs in very rough waters to get within 125 meters, and shooting at a focal length of 640 mm from a bouncing watercraft is not very ideal. Water was spraying all over us in true Arctic expedition fashion, and some cameras even stopped working after this operation.
According to a report published by the World Wide Fund for Nature, “A substantial reduction in the extent of the sea ice during the summer will undoubtedly have a negative impact on polar bears. Based on extremely conservative forecasts about the future extent of the sea ice, scientists have estimated that two thirds of the polar bear population could become extinct by 2050. If the sea ice continues to retreat at the speed witnessed during the last few years, the situation will become even more critical.”