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Photographer Robert Fuller keeps his cool as grizzly bear sprints towards him

Renowned wildlife artist Robert Fuller has told the Wolds Weekly that he remained completely calm and never once feared for his safety as a brown bear seemingly charged at him whilst filming in Alaska.

Robert, who owns Robert E Fuller Gallery in Thixendale, shared a video on Twitter of a salmon-chasing mother sprinting through a river and passing just feet from him as he filmed in Katmai National Park.

The viral video, which has almost 43,000 likes and 1.2 million views on his personal account, shows the bear running through the water and, as the camera pans around, shows it passing nearby to Robert.

Alaska is an incredibly wild place. It’s around seven times the size of the UK yet has virtually no roads and is an extraordinary place.

ROBERT FULLER

The natural reaction for most would be to sprint in the opposite direction.

Not Robert however, who remained completely still behind his camera and tripod, before turning and smiling to his guide, Caleb.

There to film the brown bears, also known as grizzlies, Robert said he had no fear.

He told the Wolds Weekly: “I was there to film the salmon run having done so in 2019.

“That was such an amazing trip that I rebooked for 2020 straight away, but obviously it had to be postponed.

“Alaska is an incredibly wild place. It’s around seven times the size of the UK yet has virtually no roads and is an extraordinary place.

“We actually had to fly from our base at Illiamna Lake to get to where we were filming.

“I have been filming a series covering predators and demonstrating how they are all so different.

“Where we were has the highest concentration of grizzly bears in Alaska and we actually saw around 60 that day, all there for the salmon run.

“There are hundreds of thousands of salmon in the river, which actually looked red due to the amount of fish in the water.

“When a bear is hunting, you’re actually pretty safe as a human as they are completely focused on the salmon and almost don’t even realise you are there.

“It happens quite a lot, the bears being so close when hunting and, although we are told not to approach within 50 metres of them, the bears don’t know that and just want to catch their meal.

“From the outside, I can understand why people might think; ‘oh wow, that’s so scary’, but if you stay completely still and calm around wildlife, you’re usually alright.

“There were three other mothers with their cubs hunting too, but I think the one in that video was a first-time mother as she was quite erratic, not as methodical as the others.”

Robert said the situation changed slightly afterwards as the bear’s two cubs, which were following her along the riverbank, positioned themselves so that he and his crew were in between them.

A potentially dangerous situation, they decided to move on.

Another hairy moment for Robert and his team came after filming two disputing males.

“After the dispute, which didn’t turn into a full-blown fight, the one which lost wanted to take it out on something,” he explained.

“At first, a bush took the brunt of his anger, but then he turned towards us with his back arched, swaggering and urinating, which means he’s ready to fight, so we took the decision to back away as we were the nearest target.

“The most dangerous situation is actually when a bear is running away from another.

“We’ve had one nearly run into us as it sprinted away in fear.”

The trip to Alaska was a full family affair, with Robert’s wife, Vick, along with his daughters, were also Stateside.

It was Vick who captured the breathtaking video which has garnered so much attention on social media.
Robert, who has travelled to every continent and led trips all over the world, said he is now solely concentrating on filming.

“I’ve been invited to create video content in various other places and I will be visiting Panama soon,” he added.

“I’d like to work with more wildlife charities too.

“Whilst in Alaska, we also saw around 20 humpback whales breaching for around half an hour, which was amazing, as well seeing some sea otters.”

The video featuring the grizzly bear can be seen on Robert’s Twitter page – @RobertEFuller.

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