Note: What you are about to read may be disturbing. Although my mind knew it’s nature in the raw, and that I was witnessing something very special and rarely seen, in the moment I was conflicted and had tears.

It was our first polar bear sighting of the Epic 80 voyage on board the National Geographic Explorer. A mother polar bear with a single first-year cub was spotted in the distance on a huge ice floe. The time was a few ticks before 7 am on Saturday, August 22, 2015. Our location on planet Earth was in Baffin Bay along the mountainous east coast of Baffin Island, coordinates 71°22'28" N 70°58'52" W.

These images record a large male polar bear chasing down a young, first-year cub on the pace ice with Baffin Island in the background. Despite heroic attempts by the mother bear, the male killed the cub, dragged it away with mom watching, and ate it on the edge of the pack ice

From the camera metadata, the chase started at 7:05:43 and was over by 7:10:26, just under 5 minutes from when the chase began. Although it was not a happy ending, it gave us new respect for wild nature and the swift power of the Arctic’s top predator.

© Ralph Lee Hopkins | All Rights Reserved | Worldwide
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