Animals

By Laura Shepherd and Helen Le Caplain


A peckish polar bear was left red-faced after it BELLY-FLOPPED into water to try and catch a duck – only to be left empty-handed when the crafty bird nimbly moved out of the way.

PIC BY RUSS BRIDGES/MERCURY PRESS

Amateur wildlife photographer Russ Bridges visited Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, Yorks, on April 17 when he came across the bear and the mallard.

The images show the polar bear with its head bowed after eyeing his tea-time treat, before launching himself into the water in a bid to catch and wolf down the stricken duck.

The final picture reveals the comical moment the huge arctic mammal missed and belly-flopped into the water with a huge splash as the duck scurried away.

Russ from Rotherham, South Yorks, said: “It’s the bird’s reaction that makes the shot so funny – though I did feel a bit sorry for her at the time.

PIC BY RUSS BRIDGES/MERCURY PRESS

“It was a delight to see them out and about playing boldly, with no inhibitions whatsoever.

“It was about 4pm when the bear jumped in after the bird, he then swam all the way round the lake trying to catch up with the bird.  The splash was priceless.”

PIC BY RUSS BRIDGES/MERCURY PRESS

Warehouse shift manager Russ, 41, said he’d snapped playful polar bears at the wildlife park before but it was the first time he’d seen them interact with other species.

Russ said: “I have some shots of polar bears leaping into the water but usually onto their toys such as big balls or cones.

“This was the first time I’ve seen a bear leap into the water after a bird.

“I watched the bear for some time before I took the photo, it was constantly in and out of the water and noticed that he kept looking at the duck.

“When capturing a shot like this you don’t have much time to set up as wildlife is so unpredictable – but that’s what makes it so enjoyable.

“Looking back at the picture it makes me feel happy watching the polar bear having so much fun showing off its natural instinct despite being in a wildlife park.