The incident took place on a remote logging road on Vancouver Island, BC, as the GoPro’s owner, John Kitchin, interviewed bear biologist Melanie Clapham.
“We heard a noise, and as we looked up, just behind Mel this young grizzly bear was poking its face over the side of the bridge, chewing on the side of the bridge and just kind of looking at us curiously,” Kitchin told CTV on Monday. “The bear looked back around and we could hear footsteps. It turned out to be a cub with its mom and sibling.”
The remarkable footage shows the grizzly first knocking the camera between a gap in the bridge before nimbly retrieving it with her paws.
Kitchin, a wildlife filmmaker and PhD student from the UK, said his initial reaction was to try to save his GoPro from being destroyed, but he held back when he realized he could be about to get some precious footage (the thought of having to take on an angry mother bear probably crossed his mind, too).
The resulting video shows the bear’s face close up – eyes, snout and teeth included – as she tries to make sense of a small high-definition camera more often seen attached to an extreme sportsperson’s helmet or dangling from a quadcopter (or strapped to a dog?).
After a couple of minutes, apparently keen to find out if the GoPro makes for a tasty snack, the animal removes it from the case and sinks her teeth into it.
Kitchin was able later to retrieve the camera and to his surprise, despite the damage, it still worked, though he said it’s now held together with duct tape.
The Brit told CTV that for him the video demonstrates bears’ “mental and physical dexterity in manipulating these objects, not just mindlessly clawing and chewing on it.”
He added, “The camera certainly doesn’t look how it used to look, but I was just super pleased that the footage was what it was.”
You can check out the grizzly’s encounter with a GoPro camera above. The situation starts to get interesting at around the two-minute mark….
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