Polar bear playfully gnaws on $40,000 cable (VIDEO)

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Polar bears are pretty adorable from a distance, until they start attempting to eat very expensive equipment.

A mother bear and her two babies were swimming in open water in the Beaufort Sea (as is normal for polar bears – they can swim up to 600 kilometres at a stretch) when they happened upon the CCGS Amundsen icebreaker vessel with a team of researchers from the University of Victoria on board.

That’s when the mother decided to investigate a cable in the water with her mouth and sharp teeth.

The cable is used to deploy instruments over the side of the ship, and is valued at $40,000 alone, UVic Oceanographer Jay Cullen told Vancity Buzz. It’s made out of a synthetic material like kevlar and the equipment attached to it costs about $200,000.

“Polar bear teeth aren’t something we want it to come into contact with,” he said.

The footage was shot on September 16 by UVic student Kathryn Purdon. Panicked voices can be heard in the background shouting “no!”

“There was anxiety both in terms of losing the equipment – which we wouldn’t have been able to replace – but also concerns for the bears’ safety,” said Cullen, who was not on board the ship at the time.

“I think everyone was kind of astounded and amazed because it’s amazing to see these animals.”

The bears eventually lost interest in the cable and the vessel and swam away, but not before causing panic on board. The equipment and cable were fine in the end.

Watch the video below:

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Lauren Sundstrom Lauren is a Staff Writer and Projects Assistant at Vancity Buzz. She is a graduate of BCIT's Broadcast and Online Journalism program. She loves reporting on breaking news and lifestyle content. If you feel like you have a story that needs to be told, fire her a tweet.
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