What polar bears seek out when they're tired of Coke
January 4, 2013 9:05 PM   Subscribe

"Cameraman Captures What It’s Like to Be Targeted as Food by a Polar Bear." Does what it says on the tiny, flimsy, Plexiglas shelter with some promising gaps.
posted by maudlin (78 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
That isn't even the whole thing, it's just a 2 minute promo piece.
posted by Malor at 9:09 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing something like this years ago. There was a human dump up along the edge of Hudson's Bay where polar bears liked to go to scavenge garbage. These guys build a big cage for their cameraman to sit inside, expecting to be ignored so that he could film the bears in the dump.

Instead, the bears were only interested in him. All his film was of the bears trying to break into the cage.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:10 PM on January 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Aw. Poor bear. Dude looked pretty toothsome, if a little stringy.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:11 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Once a maudlin, spoke a Malor Chocolate Bear.
posted by Mblue at 9:20 PM on January 4, 2013


Magnificent. I'd have been tempted to pat the bear on the nose through the gap before I became a meal.
posted by arcticseal at 9:23 PM on January 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Post from P Bear on the top of the comments:
P. Bear • 9 hours ago −
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.

posted by dougzilla at 9:26 PM on January 4, 2013 [24 favorites]


I'd have been tempted to pat the bear on the nose through the gap before I became a meal.
posted by arcticseal


That's what your kind always thinks.
posted by jamaro at 9:35 PM on January 4, 2013 [31 favorites]


The bear just wants to help him come out and play, right? Right??
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:39 PM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm reminded of a Gary Larson cartoon in which a polar bear is describing an igloo, to another polar bear, by saying that it's crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:40 PM on January 4, 2013 [21 favorites]


Except there's another camera outside, which could mean another camera operator. Which could mean someone armed with a tranq or real gun.
posted by dobbs at 9:46 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Explain why it's OK to exploit an animal's quest for survival, in the name of entertainment.

Luckily for the BBC, Buchanan was able to capture the 45-minute ordeal on film.
Glad you got your footage, BBC. The bear would like his 45 minutes back. And some food, thanks.
posted by davebush at 9:55 PM on January 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't care how ravenous and deadly it is, it's still adorable.
posted by Lou Stuells at 9:55 PM on January 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


He's very lucky that Svalbard Panserbjørn was not wearing his armor.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:59 PM on January 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


here is a totally unrelated video with a tiny fat little baby polar bear
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 PM on January 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


lookit his little toesies
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 PM on January 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'd have been tempted to pat the bear on the nose through the gap before I became a meal.

FWIW I have photos and videos* of our family in Yellowstone feeding cookies to a bear as it stuck its nose through our partially lowered car window to gobble them up. My mom, as I recall, ended up with her hand, along with accompanying cookie, IN the bear's mouth for a moment.

Sorta like when you're feeding your dog a handful of something and your hand ends up inside the dog's mouth a bit, when the dog gets a bit overexciting about gobbling the food and gobbles your hand along with it. Except, replace 'dog' with 'grizzly bear'**.

Good times!

That was back in maybe the late 60s when bears in Yellowstone would crowd along the roads because they knew people in the cars would feed them. Others would gather around the garbage dumps at campgrounds etc. Things are a bit different there now.

*We called them 'movies' back then, but you get the idea . . .

**Actually it might well have been a black bear--I was spending a little more time checking out its teeth, which were well inside the car, than its color. Either way it could quite easily have taken somebody's hand or arm off, especially of a skinny 6 yr old kid like me . . .

posted by flug at 10:06 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]



Explain why it's OK to exploit an animal's quest for survival, in the name of entertainment.


Humans have cognitive flaws; one of them is that we respond much more strongly to a single concrete experience than to an abstract statistic. Two maxims apply --- good ol' Uncle Joe's "One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic," and "out of sight, out of mind." If we don't see it, we don't care about it. By making the lives of polar bears visible and interesting, you make people care about them who otherwise would not. This is helpful, because polar bears are headed for extinction within our lifetimes, and it'd be neat if we could put some effort into preventing that.
posted by Diablevert at 10:09 PM on January 4, 2013 [45 favorites]


davebush: "The bear would like his 45 minutes back. "

Wait, what?
posted by boo_radley at 10:12 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


There should be times in a person's life when, even as a normally-continent adult, it's excusable to shit your pants.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:15 PM on January 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


Second and Lou Stuells.
posted by Mblue at 10:20 PM on January 4, 2013


Wait, what?

Do you seriously not understand this sentiment or are you being disingenuous? I'm truly curious.
posted by dobbs at 10:20 PM on January 4, 2013


Once, or not, of a goose, or not.
Think.
Not the films.
posted by Mblue at 10:27 PM on January 4, 2013


YOU'RE GONNA STARVE IN THERE HERE LET ME HELP YOU OUT
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:29 PM on January 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


Fucking clamshell blister pack bullshit
posted by fleacircus at 10:35 PM on January 4, 2013 [10 favorites]


tiny, flimsy, Plexiglas shelter

Besides the 'grizzly bear sticking his snout in our car' experience mentioned above, I've also previously reported on the 'moose standing over our pup tent' story.

You've never really had fun until you've been woken up at 2:30am by a horribly asthmatic mother moose standing with its leg directly against the tent and your sleeping bag, reaching over the tent and directly over you to yank the grass out from under the tent on the other side, and then noisily chewing it down about two feet over your heads. Repeatedly, for about 20 minutes.

Even more fun was the first ten minutes of this, as we were lying frozen (with fear) in our sleeping bags trying to figure out what kind of 1000 lb heavy-breathing, champing and gurgling creature was suddenly leaning against our tent in the middle of the night in the pitch dark in the middle of the nowhere.

I guess my point is--I'd take the Plexiglas. 'Cause at that moment the nylon pup tent seemed pretty damn thin . . .
posted by flug at 10:49 PM on January 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


Gotta say that I was scared for the cameraman when I saw this.
posted by vac2003 at 11:11 PM on January 4, 2013



here is a totally unrelated video with a tiny fat little baby polar bear


As soon as that first frame hit my retinas, my hands involuntarily flew up into the "SQUEE" position.
posted by Catch at 11:15 PM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


tiny, flimsy, Plexiglas shelter
Except its not really that at all - it's clearly solidly constructed and the cameraman doesn't seem to be in any real danger. Would I get in there? Sure, for about a million bucks.
posted by dg at 11:57 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll recommend "The polar bears of churchill" -- Ewan Mcgregor frolicking in Northern Manitoba amongst bears, sled dogs, and giggling little kids. He's charming and the bears are fabulous. ]'

They are seriously frightening, though; the only true carnivore amongst the bears. And I would not trust the plexiglass shelter.
posted by jrochest at 12:04 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Explain why it's OK to exploit an animal's quest for survival, in the name of entertainment.

Glad you got your footage, BBC. The bear would like his 45 minutes back. And some food, thanks.


metafilter.txt
posted by Sebmojo at 12:43 AM on January 5, 2013 [14 favorites]


I am glad to see that Nom Proof Glass has advanced to serious field trials.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:55 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine lived in Churchill for part of her childhood. She's the one who told me about the polar bear patrol they have every Halloween to protect the little trick-or-treaters. From a 2009 CBC article:
A helicopter will also fly overhead Saturday to make certain no bears have wandered into the town site.

"About 4 p.m., we'll do a half-hour flight. We check the rocks, the willows, and areas where bears sometimes frequent around town," said [natural resources officer Andrew] Szklaruk. "Then we'll set up somewhat of a perimeter."

Patrol units on the perimeter will monitor the directions from which the bears tend to come into town. If any are sighted, they will be forced back out.

"We haze bears that come into town with trucks and cracker shells and sometimes rubber bullets. We also set up intercept traps — live holding traps that are on the outskirts of town," Szklaruk said, adding 12 bears are already in holding pens.

They will be released once the trick-or-treating is done.

While the patrol team watches for bears, the trick-or-treaters don't seem to notice, Szklaruk added.
I live in black bear country, and while I am not in a hurry to encounter one, I am only moderately scared of them. I'd definitely be more scared to run into a grizzly. But dear lord in heaven, if I ever encountered a polar bear, I would probably expire from sheer terror before it could even eat me.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:33 AM on January 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


The bear just wants to help him come out and play, right? Right??

Yes. It turns out that choosing to play with the polar bear might just let you avoid getting eaten.
posted by rongorongo at 2:57 AM on January 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


"The bear would like his 45 minutes back."

Oh, he'd only waste them anyway.
posted by Cicerius at 2:58 AM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


The bear would like his 45 minutes back.

she should get a timex so she can manage her time better
posted by pyramid termite at 4:27 AM on January 5, 2013


here is a totally unrelated video with a tiny fat little baby polar bear

This is about the last developmental stage where it's both irresistible and safe to give a polar bear a big raspberry on it's tummy
posted by availablelight at 5:10 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


A grolar? A pizzly? Scientists confirm grizzly-polar bear cross. Huh. Apparently global warming is producing pizzlies.
posted by taz at 5:18 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


going to scoop him out like the gooey centre of a Ferrero Rocher
posted by mattoxic at 5:21 AM on January 5, 2013



A grolar? A pizzly? Scientists confirm grizzly-polar bear cross. Huh. Apparently global warming is producing pizzlies.


And my angry geriatric 14-year-old tortie cat will ride them all to victory over us human chumpies.
posted by Kitteh at 6:00 AM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Coincidentally I saw their black bear documentary a few days ago. They seem more pettable and are about as cute...
posted by stFire at 6:03 AM on January 5, 2013


...Hey!...where did that bear get a Dremel tool????!!!
posted by Thorzdad at 6:21 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh god, the cage shakes when the polar bear bangs on it ... I was not expecting that ...
posted by DingoMutt at 7:23 AM on January 5, 2013


A pizzly bear is about as misleading a name as you can get for a terrifying grizzly bear polar bear hybrid. GIGANTIC FACE EATING BEAR would be communicated much better by "grolar."
posted by ChuraChura at 7:41 AM on January 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Or maybe GRIZZLAR.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:42 AM on January 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


On southern Vancouver Island we have to worry about cougars (aka mountain lions) when camping or going for a walk in the forest. They eat dogs and small children. In fact, my son's school has been locked down twice this past fall because a cougar has been spotted in our neighbourhood, which is separated from the bush by a good 15 kilometers of city.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:48 AM on January 5, 2013


I'm going to stick with my Lexan shelter. Doesn't yellow in the sun, and it's harder to scratch.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:48 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


A pizzly bear is about as misleading a name as you can get for a terrifying grizzly bear polar bear hybrid.

Yeah, the name should inspire as much horror as the actual bear. We can call them President Palin Bears.
posted by elizardbits at 8:12 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Terrifying. I wonder if the plexiglass hut had been tested by a polar bear before. Despite all the reassurances of the engineers and your producers and everyone involved, somebody's always got to be the first one to try out a new polar bear hut, or a new shark cage. I'm super glad it's not me.
posted by vytae at 8:12 AM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll recommend "The polar bears of churchill" -- Ewan Mcgregor frolicking in Northern Manitoba amongst bears, sled dogs, and giggling little kids.

For a moment I thought this was a historical movie showing the softer side of a political figure, a la Hyde Park on Hudson... Ewan Mcgregor as Winston Churchill, frolicking with bears and dogs and children. Winston Churchill frolicking at all. Ha.
posted by vytae at 8:15 AM on January 5, 2013


Despite all the reassurances of the engineers and your producers and everyone involved

Dunno about you, but I think the more reassuring a producer was, the more worried I would be. :)
posted by Malor at 8:31 AM on January 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


"You don't get on quite well with a polar bear, Vince."

"I do."

"No you don't."

"We just clicked!"
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:33 AM on January 5, 2013


I want to see how Coke makes this into a holiday commercial.
posted by incandissonance at 9:21 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"tiny, flimsy, Plexiglas shelter"

Except its not really that at all - it's clearly solidly constructed and the cameraman doesn't seem to be in any real danger.


It's flimsier on the inside.

I've been thinking this over, and it seems less and less likely that she meant him harm. She was probably just inviting him to a spa day.
posted by maudlin at 9:24 AM on January 5, 2013


Do you seriously not understand this sentiment or are you being disingenuous? I'm truly curious.

I didn't understand it. Were you suggesting that the bear has something better to do with his time than spending it trying to hunt a creature that has more intelligence than he does?

What exactly would that be? The only thing I can think of is that the bear might spend his time more productively hunting a dumber/slower/less powerful creature. But that creature would surely be thanking you for keeping the polar bear occupied during that time.

It's the Circle of Life.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:35 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The bear would like his 45 minutes back."

Oh, he'd only waste them anyway.


He spends too much time checking his blackbeary.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:51 AM on January 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


ActingThe Goat: ouch!
posted by Malor at 9:54 AM on January 5, 2013


Luckily for the BBC, Buchanan was able to capture the 45-minute ordeal on film.
Um, no. Buchanan created the 45 minute "ordeal".
posted by davebush at 9:55 AM on January 5, 2013


"Luckily, this man with the camera inside a giant plexiglass bear-watching box managed to capture on film the thing he came there to film! GOSH WE'RE LUCKY."
posted by elizardbits at 10:12 AM on January 5, 2013


According to the article they worried that the cold would make the Plexiglass brittle.


Yeah.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:46 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure there was no intention at all to get the footage of the bear attacking the protective cage, and they wanted to film natural behaviour of something, possibly bears, possibly not, in that environment. BBC Nature are transparent and honest about what they film and I see no reason why they would have been anything different during this expedition.
posted by ambrosen at 11:09 AM on January 5, 2013


Yes. It turns out that choosing to play with the polar bear might just let you avoid getting eaten.

If you had a benign polar bear, I can imagine it'd be tremendous fun to be hugged by one.

You go first, no really, I don't mind waiting.
posted by arcticseal at 11:26 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


vytae: " For a moment I thought this was a historical movie showing the softer side of a political figure, a la Hyde Park on Hudson... Ewan Mcgregor as Winston Churchill, frolicking with bears and dogs and children. Winston Churchill frolicking at all. Ha."

"This IS my frolicking face."
posted by Lexica at 11:31 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's all fun and games until the bear figures out how to break a hole in the ice and push the enclosure in the water.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:24 PM on January 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Magnificent creature, it's a shame they see us as food instead of friends.
posted by seobizzle at 12:29 PM on January 5, 2013


By making the lives of polar bears visible and interesting, you make people care about them who otherwise would not.

I agree, but that can be done without using a carrot and a stick.
posted by davebush at 12:39 PM on January 5, 2013


I agree, but that can be done without using a carrot and a stick.

Are you under the impression that the cameraman was deliberately trying to get the bear to attack him? That's not my impression.

As for how you make the lives of polar bears visible without somebody going out and filming them, I confess myself stumped. Seems like you're going to need a dude with a camera around somewhere.
posted by Diablevert at 12:58 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Prime Directive allows for contact with other species. As long as there is no interference with the development of their culture, I think that staying inside the plexiglass cage is probably okay.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:18 PM on January 5, 2013


I hope the poor mother eventually found some food for her cubs??
posted by michellenoel at 1:28 PM on January 5, 2013


I was under the impression he was in an enclosure which was somehow mobile. If it wasn't, I stand corrected. My concern was that the crew allowed this to continue for 45 minutes, rather than get him away from the bear quickly. If there was no choice but to wait it out, that changes my stance on this. Obviously, I've got no problem with the idea of filming bears in their environment. I would have a problem with them choosing to allow the bear to thrash about in a futile attempt to eat, for the sake of some cool footage.
posted by davebush at 1:34 PM on January 5, 2013


Obviously, I've got no problem with the idea of filming bears in their environment.

You need to talk to Canadian inventor and eccentric Troy Hurtubise, who has been obsessed with building a Grizzly-proof suit for a couple of decades.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:33 PM on January 5, 2013


wow I'd never heard of Troy Hurtubise. what a fascinating person!
posted by supermedusa at 3:42 PM on January 5, 2013


If it wasn't, I stand corrected. My concern was that the crew allowed this to continue for 45 minutes, rather than get him away from the bear quickly. If there was no choice but to wait it out, that changes my stance on this. Obviously, I've got no problem with the idea of filming bears in their environment. I would have a problem with them choosing to allow the bear to thrash about in a futile attempt to eat, for the sake of some cool footage.

You can't really tell from the video, but this set of Daily Mail photos has a clear picture of the plexiglass cage --- the captions don't go into detail, but it seems clear from that that it's a frame mounted to a sled, meant to be towed by a snowmobile. It does not appear to have any independent means of locomotion.

This is just conjecture, but my best guess would be that they tow the photographer around in his cage, dragging him into position where he's likely to get a close shot of the bears before retreating. I imagine the bears might not be willing to get as close to a running snowmobile; with the cage thing they could get out ahead of them somewhere and let him sit in his duckblind in silence for hours if necessary to get a better shot.

It seems to me from looking at the sledge, that in order to hook up something that heavy to a snowmobile you'd have to dismount and set up some kind of carbine and rope system or lock into a hook or something. It doesn't look like there's anyway to lasso the sledge from a distance. I don't think anybody on a snowmobile could drag him out without becoming bear lunch themselves.
posted by Diablevert at 3:57 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't understand it. Were you suggesting that the bear has something better to do with his time than spending it trying to hunt a creature that has more intelligence than he does?

What exactly would that be? The only thing I can think of is that the bear might spend his time more productively hunting a dumber/slower/less powerful creature. But that creature would surely be thanking you for keeping the polar bear occupied during that time.
My understanding of the comment made is that staying alive for a polar bear in that environment is already a huge struggle, and putting a tempting treat (a person) in front of a bear in a way that will cause it to expend energy and time trying to eat it when in fact there is no way the bear will be allowed to eat it is essentially wasting what little time it has available to hunt and store energy.

Certainly by distracting the bear you might be saving the life of a seal or similar, but in doing so you're also endangering the life of the bear. Generally human actions for conservation tend to leave the natural cycle alone (which you're not doing here) or favour the endangered species (the polar bear rather than seals).

The real question is whether distracting a polar bear for an hour is likely to make a huge impact on its hunting that day or week. Any significant human influence in the natural cycle which doesn't explicitly help the bear is probably harming it.
posted by leo_r at 5:19 PM on January 5, 2013


Polar bears don't eat much at all for months at a time each year, so they have a lot of spare time on their hands to try and chew on photographers, play with sled dogs etc.

Also there is this series of photos of a truly close polar bear encounter. An argument for remote door locks if ever I saw one.
posted by fshgrl at 6:40 PM on January 5, 2013


dammm that's crazy. Great wildlife post!
posted by jboxer23 at 9:37 PM on January 5, 2013


Polar bears don't eat much at all for months at a time each year,

But aren't they sleeping then? As opposed to expending a ton of calories trying to crack the shell with the tasty human inside?
posted by Malor at 1:56 PM on January 6, 2013


Polar bears don't hibernate to the degree brown or black bears do, but their metabolism slows down into a state called walking hibernation.

They are incredibly efficient predators, with a nursing female devoting 35-50% (depending on which study you read) of her time to hunting, so while they are under pressure due to changes in their environment, 45 minutes out of one day is highly unlikely to be the death of this bear.
posted by jamaro at 2:53 PM on January 6, 2013


this set of Daily Mail photos has a clear picture of the plexiglass cage

The second picture down makes it look like he's a WW2 fighter pilot being attacked by a flying polar bear.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:17 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


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