The Photographer And The Polar Bear
Wildlife photographer Gordon Buchanan has had a close encounter of the polar bear kind. Enclosed alone in a transparent safety cage he caught the terrifying encounter on video for the BBC's documentary series "The Polar Bear Family and Me." Buchanan admitted that the experience was the most terrifying thing he has ever been through.
Buchanan says that he gained new respect for one of the few animals on Earth that actually regards humans as a source of food. He now knows from personal experience how powerful and intimidating a fully grown polar bear actually is -- and what it looks like when that same animal is attempting to take a bite out of you.
The entire encounter lasted a brutal 40 minutes -- beginning with the bear ignoring the seal breathing hole that was the bait and heading straight for the cage with Buchanan inside. The entire time Buchanan kept up a running narrative of what was happening to him, including instances where the bear was clearly catching his scent. The bear systematically tried every angle of the cage, seeking a way in to what it can tell was a tasty morsel. Fortunately for Buchanan the protective Perspex cage was up to the task and he came away just being heartily rattled.
One thing Buchanan seems to have discovered during his ordeal -- polar bears apparently like canned food. Or at least they would if they could get the can open.
Laurie Kay Olson
Animal News Blogger