Update: National Geographic has retracted the claims made about a widely viewed photo of a starving polar bear. The photos and video were seen by an estimated 2.5 billion people and purported to show the effects of climate change.
Nat Geo has retracted the claim and the photographer admits they were seeking a photo to be used for propaganda messaging. Details are in our now updated original post: Polar bears, social media, and how our emotional response may have helped a PR stunt | SocialPanic.org
The episode is likely the most successful propaganda message in history. It is highly doubtful that many of the 2.5 billion original viewers will learn of the retraction.
Update November 2019
This item is updated in a Toronto Sun story that notes documents filed with a Canadian Court from the Inuit document an increase in polar bears and that skinny bears are rare.