The terrifying moment a hungry brown bear crept up on two oblivious fishermen has been captured in a series of breathtaking pictures.
The frightening photo, taken on a remote creek shows the fishermen with rods in hand while the young male, who looked like he couldn’t bear them being on his turf, looms behind them.
Wildlife photographer Robert Hawthorne said the fishermen were thinking about nothing but Alaskan rainbow trout as the giant predator watched them intently.
The 21-year-old quickly snapped the photo and then warned the men who had a “good startle” when they realised what was behind them.
But luckily for them, Robert said the bear was more interested in salmon and didn’t appear interested in attacking the men.
Robert said: “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.”
Robert, of Bozeman, Montana, US, was guiding a photography tour when he snapped the extraordinary shot and said there were no cubs nearby.
While he was unable to show the duo his photo, taken at Katmai National Park in Alaska at the time, he hopes they see it now he’s sharing it.
Robert, who has been photographing wildlife since 2015, said it is a common misconception about bears that they are out to kill you.
Robert 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.
“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.
“There is nothing more exhilarating and mesmerising than spending my day alongside wildlife in any setting. And being able to bring back photos and share with others is very rewarding.”