A heartbreaking image of a bear slumped over in landfill as garbage burns around him is raising awareness of the growing impact landfill sites are having on wild animals.
The photo taken in northern Ontario is a far cry from the often pristine nature shots so often taken of bears in Canada. It was captured by Canadian photographer Troy Moth, who said that it was “the most heartbreaking image I’ve ever made”.
He shared the photo on Instagram and said he entitled the shot ‘Invisible Horseman’. It’s the only photo he’s taken that has made him tear up every time he looks at it.
“This is the most heartbreaking image I’ve ever taken,” writes Moth on his Instagram post. “I teared up when shooting it, again when editing it, and on several occasions just thinking about it. I’ve waited nearly a month to post it as I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I do know i’ll never forget this moment, and what happened to that bear afterwards, which I was too stunned to photograph.”
This is the most heartbreaking image I've ever made. I teared up when shooting it, again when editing it, and on several occasions just thinking about it. I've waited nearly a month to post it as I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I do know i'll never forget this moment, and what happened to that bear afterwards, which I was too stunned to photograph.
He’s visited the landfill the day before the photo was taken and saw seven bears at the site. He didn’t shoot any photos that day, but when he came back he saw the lone bear hunched over. Looking at it now, he writes of the photo, “And I’m sure it still has more to teach me.”
The image certainly makes you think of the negative impact pollution and human waste are having on habitats and animals.
A similar, disturbing video of elephants scrounging for food at a landfill in Sri Lanka reveals large wild animals are so desperate for food that they are adapting to foraging through garbage. It is believed six elephants have so far died from ingesting polyethylene – the main compound in disposable plastics.