Ah, zoos. Where mere glass separates you from certain death by wildly intimidating predators. To be fair, most animal enclosures use laminated glass, which is at least two sheets of glass with an interlayer. This is what prevents it from shattering if there’s a strong enough impact. If either of the sheets of glass on each end should break, the interlayer holds the laminated glass together.
This video starts with a view of a polar bear behind this type of glass in its enclosure. It’s in water and there’s a little boy leaning up against the glass, looking through it at the polar bear. A woman stands a few feet behind the child with her phone out, capturing the moment as well.
It seems innocent enough as both the polar bear and the child look at each other. Suddenly, the polar bear decides to lunge at the child. It happens quickly—one second it’s a bit of a staring contest and in the next, the polar bear takes a few steps back to create space for the jump it’s about to take. The little boy puts his hands up in defense because even though he’s behind glass and protected, he has a survival instinct. In the wild, those little arms and hands would do absolutely nothing.
But it makes sense that he has this reaction to this huge animal lunging toward him. You see the fear run through his body as he shakes in surprise. The polar bear lands against the glass, creating a huge splash. The boy takes a few steps away, still with his hands up, and still with his eyes glued to the polar bear.
The woman in the background keeps filming as if it’s just another day. There’s a bit of laughter in the background as the boy turns and walks toward the person holding the camera, obviously still quite shaken. You can see the polar bear just behind the boy, looking over at its missed meal.
Polar bears, especially when undernourished, hunt humans for food. This isn’t usually the case, however. Most of the time, polar bears feast on seals. They may also hunt and eat other marine mammals during the winter.
Climate change has been changing polar bears’ habitats, with sea ice melting at a great rate. The conservation status of polar bears is currently considered vulnerable. Although this was a frightening zoo moment for the little boy in the video, he is sure to remember it for a lifetime.
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