Witness a polar bear’s heartbreaking swim for ice in the Arctic

The waterproof and durable nature of GoPro cameras have been a boon for outdoor adventurers, allowing them to capture moments that might otherwise exist only in memory.

Such as this incredible above and underwater sight of several polar bears swimming toward an ice floe. Thanks to an extremely brave observer, we get up close and personal with these enormous animals as they make their way across the open water.

With most of their bodies below the water level, the bears are oddly graceful, expertly manipulating their huge paws to move around in the water. If you’re worried about the polar bears’ stamina, have no fear. These up to 1,500 pound animals can swim up to 220 miles in just a few days.

Unfortunately, life for polar bears is changing. Since 1979 there has been a 30 percent decline in sea ice in the Arctic where polar bears live. The vanishing ice means longer swims for the bears and their cubs, and will eventually cause major problems for their hunting patterns. You can find out more about Arctic Bear Productions and their Arctic Exploration Fund by visiting their website.