A brown bear came dangerously close to attacking a photographer in Alaska recently, and the entire ordeal was captured on camera. In the resulting video footage, posted to Instagram by an account called @scenicbearviewing on June 17, the brown bear rushes in at a dead sprint while a man with a large lens stands his ground—screaming and roaring in an apparent attempt to deter the charging bruin. You can watch the startling scene unfold for yourself below.
The guide service that posted the video did not disclose the location where the encounter took place. But its website advertises “once-in-a-lifetime” bear viewing experiences on remote beaches in Katmai and Lake Clark National Parks. “We have been Bear guiding for over 10 years,” the outfit wrote on Instagram. “This happened a few days ago and it’s not the first time. We are trained exactly for this situation. We are a professional bear guide operation. Although we will try to avoid this at all costs.”
The video begins with a woman in a rain jacket calmly filming a different but equally large brown bear with her smart phone from about 30 yards away. As the camera pans away from her, the charging bear comes into view. “Never run from a charging bear, even though your instinct is to run,” the post reads. “This is a bluff charge. They are just trying to get you to run. They have a natural chase instinct.”
True to this advice, the photographer in the video never backed down, even as the sprinting bear came to within an uncomfortable 10 or 15 yards. Luckily, the bear veered away at the last second, and the photographer walked away unscathed.
According to Scenic Bear Viewing, there hasn’t been an attack in the area where the video was filmed in at least 30 years. “We take photos of the bears and leave no trace,” the company wrote. “We want the bears to stay protected.”
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Katmai National Park is home to some of the largest brown bears in the world. In mid-summer, adult males in this area typically weigh between 600 and 900 pounds.
“If a bear is charging almost all charges are ‘bluff charges,'” the Alaska Department of Fish and Game advises on its website. “Olympic sprinters cannot outrun a bear and running may trigger an instinctive reaction to chase. Do not try to climb a tree unless it is literally right next to you and you can quickly get at least 30 feet up. Stand your ground. Wave your arms and speak in a loud low voice. Many times charging bears have come within a few feet of a person and then veered off at the last second.”