WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE EATEN BY A POLAR BEAR


  • Cameraman Gordon Buchanan endured 45-minute attack from hungry female bear who wanted to feed her cubs
  • BBC man says he was the most frightened he’s ever been – and the microphone picked up noise of his heart racing

By Harriet Arkell

PUBLISHED: 12:12 GMT, 4 January 2013 |

This is the terrifying moment a wildlife cameraman comes face-to-face with a deadly 1,000lb polar bear looking for its next meal.

The hungry eight-foot predator repeatedly attacks the safety perspex box – the on-ice equivalent of a shark cage – housing helpless Gordon Buchanan.

Filmmaker Mr Buchanan shows nerves of steel as he endures the lethal polar bear’s 40-minute sustained assault as it desperately hunts for a weak spot in his protective pod.

Scroll down to see the video

Terrifying: This is the moment that wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan came face to face with a hungry polar bearTerrifying: This is the moment that wildlife cameraman came face to face with a hungry polar bear in Svalbard, in the northern-most region of Arctic Norway, for his three-part BBC series The Polar Bear Family and Me
'Without a doubt, she wanted me for lunch': Gordon Buchanan's reinforced perspex pod protected him‘Without a doubt, she wanted me for lunch’: Gordon Buchanan’s reinforced perspex pod protected him
Persistent: The 1,000kg female polar bear spent nearly 45 minutes trying to get to the cameramanPersistent: The 1,000kg female polar bear spent nearly 45 minutes trying to get to the cameraman

Heart-stopping moment: This shows the size of the adult polar bear compared to the cameramanHeart-stopping moment: This shows the size of the adult polar bear compared to the cameraman

The female bear, with its powerful paws and giant teeth, was trying to get hold of the 40-year-old so she could feed herself and her two young cubs.

Mr Buchanan, who has filmed the world’s deadliest creatures for 20-years, described the ordeal as his scariest ever experience.

He said: ‘A lot of people think that carnivores are intrinsically dangerous but most aren’t – there’s a minimal risk and attacks are the exception.

‘But polar bears are different, without a doubt she wanted me for lunch. She was so persistent, looking for a weak spot for almost 45 minutes.

‘I was terrified and you could hear my heartbeat on the mic. It really was a sensational moment and a worrying situation.

‘It shows how enormous and powerful they are.

Man vs nature: The polar bear battered Buchanan in his tiny cageMan vs nature: The polar bear battered Buchanan in his tiny cage
Ferocious attack: The cameraman had a good view of the bear's enormous teethFerocious attack: The cameraman had a good view of the bear’s enormous teeth
Starving: The female bear was determined to find food for herself and her two young cubsStarving: The female bear was determined to find food for herself and her two young cubs
'You could hear my heart beating on the mic': Buchanan was inches from the bear's jaws‘You could hear my heart beating on the mic’: Buchanan was inches from the bear’s jaws

‘It is the most difficult thing I have done and the scariest. I’ve not been terrified for 40 minutes before.’

The Scottish wildlife expert filmed the fascinating creature in Svalbard, in the northern-most region of Arctic Norway, for his three-part BBC series The Polar Bear Family and Me.

The series, to be aired over three consecutive nights on BBC2, starts on Monday, January 7 at 9.30pm.

'It's getting quite hairy in here': The footage shows the photographer becoming more and more frightened as the attack went on‘It’s getting quite hairy in here’: The footage shows the photographer becoming more and more frightened as the attack went on
'I've never been terrified for 40 minutes before': The bear could smell Buchanan and was determined to get him‘I’ve never been terrified for 40 minutes before’: The bear could smell Buchanan and was determined to get him
Buchanan described the pod as 'bombproof' but said there was a danger it could become brittle in the coldBuchanan described the pod as ‘bombproof’ but said there was a danger it could become brittle in the cold

Mr Buchanan followed mother Lyra and her cubs Miki and Luca for 12 months to get closer to a polar bear family than anyone has before.

He risked long journeys over and through the ice, often into uncharted territory, battling freezing winds, violent storms and plummeting temperatures.

On a number of occasions the crew had to flee on their snowmobiles as the giant predators edged closer and closer to them.

The bear roared as she attacked the pod with the Scotsman insideThe bear roared as she attacked the pod with the Scotsman inside
Weakest point: Buchanan said his scent was strongest at the pod's weakest point, the doorWeakest point: Buchanan said his scent was strongest at the pod’s weakest point, the door
The bear rocked the pod back and forth with its paws in an attempt to break it and get to its human preyThe bear rocked the pod back and forth with its paws in an attempt to break it and get to its human prey

The perspex ‘ice cube’ the photographer was housed in for much of the filming was ‘pretty much bombproof’.

But there was a risk it could get brittle when very cold – making the task of filming the polar bears even more perilous.

He said: ‘There’s no doubt polar bear cubs are the cutest animals in the world and even the adults have an aesthetic which isn’t threatening.

 VIDEO  Incredible footage shows the photographer just a perspex cage away from polar bear’s attack

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257088/Starving-polar-bear-attacks-BBC-cameraman-pod-Arctic-Norway.html

The pod was built of perspex and metal and withstood the fierce onslaught from the eight-foot predatorThe pod was built of perspex and metal and withstood the fierce onslaught from the eight-foot predator
Closer than ever before: The cameraman got closer to a polar bear family than anyone else has beforeCloser than ever before: The cameraman got closer to a polar bear family than anyone else has before
Desperate for food: Unlike many mammals, polar bears have to work hard to find foodDesperate for food: Unlike many mammals, polar bears have to work hard to find food

‘But the polar bear is the animal I have the most respect for, it is the largest and strongest land carnivore. They are such inquisitive animals too.

‘The landscape is pretty featureless and it is amazing how they appear from nowhere.

‘With most carnivores you can see their food source but you have to work really hard to find the animals polar bears feed on.’

The Polar Bear Family and Me begins on BBC2 on January 7 at 9.30pm.

'The landscape is pretty featureless and it's amazing how they appear from nowhere': A polar bear spots the cameraman‘The landscape is pretty featureless and it’s amazing how they appear from nowhere’: A polar bear spots the cameraman
Dangerous quest: The film crew often had to flee on snowmobiles when the bears got too closeDangerous quest: The film crew often had to flee on snowmobiles when the bears got too close
Family of three: Buchanan and his crew followed mother Lyra and her cubs Miki and Luca for a year to see them up closeFamily of three: Buchanan and his crew followed mother Lyra and her cubs Miki and Luca for a year to see them up close
Hungry cub: The bear's mother was determined to feed itHungry cub: The bear’s mother was determined to feed it
They may look sweet.... Cubs Miki and Luca nuzzle up to their motherThey may look sweet…. Cubs Miki and Luca nuzzle up to their mother
Fearless predators: The cameraman said that of all animals, the polar bears are the ones he respects mostFearless predators: The cameraman said that of all animals, the polar bears are the ones he respects most
Desperate for anything to eat: Polar bears prefer to eat seals which they hunt from the edge of the iceDesperate for anything to eat: Polar bears prefer to eat seals which they hunt from the edge of the ice

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