Peter Howarth was with a group of Americans taking pictures of three polar bears at Kaktovik, on Barter Island off Alaska, according to Telegraph (UK).
One of the bears then began to run towards the group and they fled to the safety of their truck, leaving three tripods standing on the ice. However, Peter Howarth continued to take pictures as the bear knocked down two of the tripods before running off with a third which it took to another bear in the group.
Mr Howarth said: “I was in Alaska on a photo trip in Kaktovik, a native village on a small island called Barter Island. We knew that there were polar bears there and went in two trucks to an area where the bears tend to go. After a while three bears turned up.”
“We were on the ice taking pictures with cameras on tripods for about an hour dressed up in cold weather gear, I think it was about -20C at the time. One of the bears got curious and started running across the ice towards us. The adrenalin was flowing as we kept taking pictures but then suddenly realised how close the bear was getting so snatched up our gear and dived into the trucks. “
He continued: “Luckily I got my tripod away but three of our group didn’t and left them on the ice. The bear knocked over two and picked up the third and walked off with it. He started playing with it, then began jumping on it, chewing it and finally walking off with it.”
“He went to one of the other bears and dropped it next to them and the pair had a bit of a gnaw at it. They obviously didn’t like the taste and wandered off. Once they were out of sight the two party leaders ventured out 50 metres or so to collect it. “
Mr Howarth also added: “It was a great surprise when one bear picked up the tripod. When he walked off with it we couldn’t stop laughing and joking as he had selected the most expensive. The tripod was a top of the range Gitsu carbon fibre. The legs were marked but the tripod ball head was badly damaged. The owner, a woman on the trip, sent it back to the manufacturer for repair.
“He seemed to handle the tripod very well for a bear. Perhaps he thought of himself as a photographer or just didn’t want his picture taken. The experience will stay in my mind forever,” said Mr Howarth. [via Telegraph (UK); image via Flickr]