An Alaskan grizzly expressed its frustration with camera-toting tourists on a photo safari by charging right at them, giving them the kind of up-close shot they hadn’t necessarily signed up for.
The group of 10 photographers was in the middle of a four-hour sightseeing tour of Alaska’s Katmai National Park when the bear began to sniff out these two-legged intruders.
“This particular bear circled our group several times, wanting us to leave his fishing spot,” Larry Griffith, on the trip with his wife, Cindy, told ABC News. “Our guide said he saw this as a bluff charge, trying to scare us away.”
Griffith, of Farmington, N.M., said the bear seemed drawn by the smell of one of the member’s hoodies, and came within 3 feet of the group.
“We all turned away and were frozen, and I couldn’t breathe,” Griffith said of the moment when the nearly 8-foot bear charged. Griffith later posted video of the August 2010 incident on YouTube.
“We were all in shock, very happy that no one in our group jumped up, running away or screaming for their lives,” he said.
The group, according to Griffith, saw 30 to 40 different bears throughout the tour, but this particular grizzly was the only one to come so close.
“This was not supposed to happen,” he said.
The trip was operated by Bald Mountain Air Service in Homer, Alaska.
“It is our serious intent to provide a safe and educational experience to our guests,” the company said on its website, while also noting that its special aircraft allows tour groups to “occupy viewing sites that would otherwise be inaccessible.”