After years cruising in sail boats and ships around Svalbard a dream came true in June 2019. We followed a swimming polar bear for miles keeping a good distance not to disturb him. We wondered where he was going. Finally our captain looking through his binoculars discovered the bear’s destination: a bearded seal resting on a small piece of ice. The captain maneuvered the boat in front of the seal far enough away so it was not disturbed by our presence. We saw the polar bear diving under the ice and a few seconds later he jumped out of the water right in front of the seal. Not a second too late the bearded seal slid across the ice into the safe ocean. This was for me an experience of a lifetime as a nature photographer and the absolute favorite wildlife image I have taken during my career.
Polar bears are highly threatened due to global warming. They need ice to hunt seals, their main diet. Over the past decade the winters have become warmer in the Arctic and the ice cover shorter. The polar bears are considered vulnerable and the population is decreasing.