A pair of motorists in Alaska provided us with a life lesson this week: should you meet a bear on the road, do not stop for a game of predator peek-a-boo. (You'll want the HD on for this one.)

Warning: This video contains profanity.

The internet has a habit of serving up faked bear encounters, but Alaskan fishing guide, Cody Kunau, who filmed the encounter, claims it's the real deal. 

The "bear scare" happened in Yakutat, a borough located in the state's southeast corner. According to Kunau, bears are regularly seen in the area, but are not typically aggressive. "Usually, the bears run off and catching a close up glimpse is hard," he told Viralhog. "We slowed our vehicle down to where we saw the bear cross the road when suddenly it erupted from the bushes and came after our vehicle." 

US Fish and Wildlife biologist Wayne Kasworm, who leads the Grizzly Bear Recovery Program, believes the footage is authentic. "It does not seem fake," he says. "At one point I think I can see long claws on the front feet indicating a grizzly [or brown] bear, but I'm not entirely sure."

Some online commenters have speculated that the bear may be a female harbouring cubs nearby. Alaska's bears typically give birth mid-winter, but come spring, the bear cubs will begin toddling out of the den. What's more, young bears typically stay with mom for two years, so it's entirely possible that this grumpy jaywalker had youngsters close by.

Kunau, however, does not believe that cubs contributed to the bear's behaviour. "After this incident, we turned back around to see what was making the bear so agitated. We could see no cubs, no kill, or anything that would make this bear behave the way it did." So without evidence of the cubs, it's tough to confirm that scenario, but the  Alaska Department of Fish and Game notes that female bears are more prone to charging behaviour.  

"Every bear has a 'personal space'– the distance within which the bear feels threatened,"  they explain. "If you enter that space, the bear may become aggressive. Give female bears extra space. Female bears are especially fierce defenders of their young and may respond aggressively if they perceive a threat to their cubs."

Should you find yourself in a similar situation, let the bear pass and move along as soon as possible.

"Avoid it and give the bear every opportunity to avoid you," says the team. "Chances are good you are not in danger. Most bears are interested only in protecting food, cubs or their 'personal space.' Once they feel there is no threat, they will move on."

Elephant Car Scratch Related Content 2015 09 15

__

Top header image: Knight725/Flickr