An RSPB officer discovered an exhausted polar bear that had washed up on the Isle of Mull in Scotland when he was conducting a routine wildlife survey earlier today. When he returned to the spot an hour later, the bear had disappeared.
polar bear mull Dave Sexton/RSPB Images

Dave Sexton, RSPB Mull officer, explained how he saw a white shape on the west coast of the island that turned out to be a polar bear. He said: ‘At first I felt sure it was dead, but then I realised it was still breathing. Scarily, it opened its eyes as we got near it, but didn’t show any other signs of moving. We grabbed a few photos and ran off to get help.’

On his return, Mr Sexton was amazed to discover that the polar bear had gone. He added: ‘Having spent many years protecting threatened wildlife, I just hope this polar bear is going to be ok.’

polar bear mull Dave Sexton/RSPB Images

Mull islanders, the coastguard, the local police and Arctic-marine-mammal experts are searching for the missing polar bear, which is thought to have drifted across to the island on an ice floe.

Scientists believe that the colder winter and lower-than-average sea temperatures this year may have allowed the ice floe to remain frozen longer than usual, assisting the polar bear’s passage.

The nearest polar-bear populations to the Isle of Mull are on Greenland and the Svalbard archipelago, between Norway and the North Pole. Other recent visitors to Mull from the high Arctic have included a bearded seal and two northern bottle-nosed whales.

The public have been warned not to approach the polar bear if they see it, as it may be hungry after its long journey.

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