Cameraman Captures What It’s Like to Be Targeted as Food by a Polar Bear

If you ever find yourself wondering what it’s like to be hunted by a hungry polar bear, just ask filmmaker Gordon Buchanan. While shooting wildlife imagery in Svalbard, Norway for a BBC series titled The Polar Bear Family and Me, Buchanan was approached by a giant 1,000lb, 8-foot-tall polar bear. Luckily for Buchanan, he was in a tiny Plexiglas enclosure. Luckily for the BBC, Buchanan was able to capture the 45-minute ordeal on film.

The video above offers a glimpse into what Buchanan experienced that day. Buchanan was basically sitting in an on-land equivalent of an underwater shark cage, which allowed him to document the bear attack from inches away without worrying about actually becoming the hungry creature’s next meal.


Buchanan says that it was the scariest 40-or-so minutes of his life. It’s all worth it, though, if you can leave unscathed and with a selfie like this:


You can find more photographs of this encounter over on The Daily Mail.

P.S. Perhaps the bear was simply trying to get at the camera equipment inside the pod rather than at Buchanan. A few months ago we shared some interesting photos of a polar bear that enjoyed getting its jaw and paws on a Canon 70-200mm lens.

Image credits: Video and photographs by Gordon Buchanan/BBC

  • Matej

    Why is this scary for him? I have been inches from a polar bear in our zoo and I was pretty chill.

  • Trausti Hraunfjörð

    The scariest moment of my life was when I was 8 year old and I crawled over a fence and ended up on the polar bear house in the Icelandic “Sædýrasafn” situated over Hafnarfjörður in the 70’s. I crawled on all 4 to the edge of the flat roof of the polar bear house and stuck out my head to get a better view… and whoosh!!… a clawed paw of the biggest polar bear in the world cut the air in front of my face… I hurried back, flew over the fence and ran away as fast as I could, scared to death the polar bear was right behind me.

    Not a fun moment, but it is a cherished experience to have in the back-pack. From that moment on, I understood that wild animals are just that: WILD. No matter if they are in captivity or not.

  • Leonardo Abreu

    “Jeez… Enormous… It’s coming…” lmao

  • Opie

    More people need to understand irony…

  • P. Bear

    Oh sure, mock my frustration. Just wait until someone serves you a meal in one of these confounded blister packs, and you’ll see how it feels.

  • Gaz

    How the hell is that irony?

  • MP Crosson

    This guy has obviously never seen Werner Herzogs “Grizzly Man”. Yikes!

  • K-Dawg Keeler

    Somebody had to test the first shark cage too, here’s your sign!

  • TheRuss

    Sarcasm, it’s a form of irony.

  • Paul

    The final comment you make about bears and camera equipment is apposite. Very few polar bear can set up accounts with Amazon – very difficult without a fixed address – so this is the only way for them to access the latest cameras and lenses. They’re fussy bastards too: not interested in kit lenses or un-winterised, non-pro bodies.

  • Bob Ivan

    Best part when the bear comes close and he greets the bear.. “Hey Bear..” lol Amazing video and I can’t wait to see the whole story! Great work!

  • Etienne

    Ridiculous – I’m sure there’s a guy ready to shot this poor bear if something happens

  • Susan Ruffaner Gahagan

    Oh, hell no!

  • Thanksforposting

    This reminded me of one of my favourite coffee mugs years ago from Gary Larson’s Far Side series.

  • sneekyweezel

    The bear was going to turn him into a funtime snack!

  • JagerBomb

    Yeah, inches from a well FED polar bear in your zoo….

  • Karen Koop

    WOW..That was absolutely incredible..and you maintained your composure so well…GREAT PICTURE. Thank you!!!