Close encounter with huge female polar bear - video

BBC wildlife cameraman comes face-to-face with fierce 1,000kg beast for documentary

LAST UPDATED AT 14:58 ON Mon 7 Jan 2013

A CLOSE encounter between a BBC cameraman and a very large female polar bear has become a sensation on YouTube, with over 550,000 hits before the programme has even gone out.

It features wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan trying to track a wild polar bear family over three seasons. Buchanan travels to Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic, and he manages to track down a polar bear birth den.

He decides to test a 'bear proof' Perspex cube so that he can film the mother while she is hunting. However, much to his distress – and excitement – the bear walks straight past the fishing hole he has dug in the ice and heads straight for him.

Driven by his scent the bear paws and bites the Perspex box and tries to get at Buchanan. Luckily for him the structure holds firm.

A breathless Buchanan points out that polar bears are one of the few animals who kill humans for food.

The clip comes from the programme The Polar Bear Family & Me, which goes out tonight at 9.30pm on BBC2.

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