Iain Williams is a freelance Wildlife and Nature Photographer based out of Hobart, Australia. His exclusive photos of a polar bear eating a cub were published as a slideshow on www.reuters.com. Below, Iain recounts how he came to take the photographs. The opinions expressed are his own.
Michael Perry, our chief correspondent in Australia, added a caption that referenced a vast global study in 2008. That study, published here, said that human-generated climate change had turned some polar bears into cannibals
A male polar bear carries the head of a polar bear cub it killed and cannibalized in an area about 300 km (186 miles) north of the Canadian town of Churchill November 20, 2009.
To photograph polar bears in the wild requires considerable pre-planning. I engaged Frontiers North to assist with the logistics to approach polar bears at close quarters in sub-zero temperatures. Before I departed, I knew what I wanted to achieve – images that would help to show the plight of the polar bear in relation to global climate change.
On the day I captured these images, I observed ravens engaged in what appeared to be antagonizing behavior towards a large male polar bear. On closer inspection I realized that the ravens were pecking at bits of a carcass that the bear was consuming. Circling the male bear was a smaller female polar bear that appeared to be exhibiting major signs of stress; her gait was unwieldy, her head was swaying from side to side and she was making continual low vocalizations. It was only after some time that I realized the carcass was in fact a first year baby cub and the circling bear was the mother.