This was not my first close encounter with a wild Alaskan bear. Each meeting was a visceral experience, evoking wonder, awe and fear. The beasts were ever breathtaking, yet deadly. All sinew, fur and teeth, these were nature’s most ruthless hunting machines.
The beast before me was a polar bear. Ursus maritimus, the lethal arctic ghost. My mind raced, my pulse quickened. What to do? Fight or flight? Play dead? No, there could be only choice: the baby bottle.
Alright, I’m no Steve Irwin. Or Jim Fowler. I’m not even Marlin Perkins, who sat in the Wild Kingdom TV studio while Jim did all the dangerous stuff in the field. My previous Alaska bear encounters were in a hotel parking lot and behind a fence at a wildlife refuge. But I did see them, they were close, and the legends will continue to grow!