Moment Bear Sneaks Up On Unsuspecting Fishermen
This is the moment a brown bear crept up on two men fishing on his turf while they posed for the camera - unaware of the danger lurking just feet behind them.
But when they were alerted, the fearless pair were so locked into their fishing that they just shrugged it off, and continued trying to catch salmon in the Alaskan river.
Looking at the moment as it unravelled, wildlife photographer Robert Hawthorne captured the moment that the creature sneaked up on them while they posed for a photo.
It all took place on a quiet creek in Katmai National Park, Alaska.
As the young male bear waited behind the fishing duo, 21-year-old Hawthorne warned them - but only after he'd quickly snapped the bear. The Montana native specialises in wildlife, landscape and action sports photography.
Hawthorne added: "Believe it or not, the fishermen were thinking about nothing but their fishing. They were oblivious to the bear behind them. I believe this photo strikes a nerve for a lot of people.
"Many people shiver and recoil when they see it, imagining themselves in the fishermen's shoes. And then they immediately ask, 'What happened next? Are they alive?' People can't imagine being that close to a bear and not being attacked, and I don't blame them.
"The bear truly was not interested in the fishermen, although he may have been interested to see if they had caught a fish for stealing."
Hawthorne was guiding a photography tour in the location when he snapped the extraordinary shot.
A wildlife photographer since 2015, he said it is a common misconception about bears that they are out to kill you.
Hawthorne said: "The fishermen did have a good startle when they realised their spectator, but it was clear he was not threatening so they quickly returned to fishing.
"When given protection such as a habitat like Katmai National Park, and especially when bears are so focused on a single food source like salmon, close and passive encounters can happen daily without risk of attack.
"This is more of a common occurrence than you think. The bears walk up and down the banks looking to find sockeye salmon to catch.
"It can happen several times a day that you have a bear walk close behind you."
Hawthorne pointed out, however, that bears rarely want to hurt you and are usually only defensive when threatened.
He continued: "They make their rounds walking up and down the banks, only stopping to take a dive after some fish. The bear was looking right past the fishermen into the water hoping to see salmon ready for the catching.
"After the bear had a good look around for salmon, he continued his walk downstream."
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News