05/07/2012 13:38 BST | Updated 05/07/2012 13:43 BST

Polar Bear Piggy Back: Cub Hitches A Ride On His Mother (PICTURES)

polar bear

A young polar bear hitches a ride

A polar bear cub hitches a a piggy back ride from his mother during an Arctic swim.

The cute cub clambered on to his mother's back as she swam in the icy waters surrounding the Svalbard Islands.

They later explored the islands - which are located in the Arctic Ocean - halfway between Norway and the North Pole.

SEE ALSO: Baby Pandas On A Slide (VIDEO)

Photographer Kevin Schafer, from Seattle, captured the family scene during a cruise.

Kevin, 60, said: "In twenty-five years of observing polar bears, this was easily the most moving thing I have ever seen.

"It was a moment of pure tenderness - unusual for such a world-class predator.

Kevin said: "Small cubs do not have the insulation needed to spend a lot of time in the icy waters. The young bear was probably trying to keep warm."

Polar bear cub and its mother explore the wilderness in Svalbard