Scottish wildlife filmmaker Gordon Buchanan journeyed to Svalbard, the northern-most region of Arctic Norway, to document the lives of three polar bears, a mother (Lyra) and her two cubs (Miki and Luca), over the course of three seasons. Stationed within his own personal “ice cube” box, the cameraman gets an intimate and almost perilous look at these massive, carnivorous creatures that roam the frigid, snowy lands.
Buchanan's venture in his protective pod has proven to get some never-before-seen views of the dangerous animals in equally threatening weather conditions. He and his crew weathered “freezing winds, violent storms and plummeting temperatures” in addition to the fear of coming so up-close and personal with 1,000 lb. polar bears. They journeyed to unchartered territories to capture the animals in their natural habitat for a three-part documentary series titled The Polar Bear Family and Me.
Though the documentarian has thrust himself into life-threatening situations to film wildlife for over 20 years, he medals this experience with the gold for most frightening. He says, “A lot of people think that carnivores are intrinsically dangerous but most aren't – there's a minimal risk and attacks are the exception. But polar bears are different, without a doubt she wanted me for lunch. She was so persistent, looking for a weak spot for almost 45 minutes.” There was even one point where Buchanan feared that the predator would flip his vehicle over, exposing the comparatively fragile plywood base.
The Polar Bear Family and Me is scheduled to air in three parts for three consecutive nights on BBC2, beginning tonight (Monday, January 7th) at 9:30pm. In the meantime, check out a heart-pounding preview clip of a female polar bear attacking Buchanan's perspex cage, below.