Jason Roberts, BBC Producer, Under Fire For Disturbing Polar Bears In Norway (VIDEO)

Wildlife filmmaker Gordon Buchanan had a suspenseful encounter with a polar bear last summer when the animal tried to claw its way into the plexiglass box he was sitting in during filming for a BBC documentary in Arctic Norway.

Now BBC producer Jason Roberts has come under fire for the incident one Norway official described as "disturbing" to the polar bears, according to several media reports.

Roberts and his crew filmed the bear-centric documentary "The Polar Bear Family and Me" in Svalbard, the northernmost part of Norway where polar bears are strictly protected by environmental regulations. The crew followed a polar bear family throughout three seasons.

During filming, a mother polar bear approached the plexiglass cage that held Buchanan, the documentary's host, and attempted to rip open the box for 40 minutes.

After the documentary aired in January, Svalbard District Governor Lars Erik Alfheim noted that the documentary crew broke Norwegian laws that prohibit harassment of the polars bears. Earlier this month, Roberts received a letter from Alfheim that detailed the offense and warned of a 50,000 Norwegian Krone fine (about $8,500) for disturbing the wild animals.

"The cage was used to lure the bears and therefore disturb them, while they film the incident at the same time," Alfheim wrote, according to Views and News in Norway.

However, the BBC producer refutes the claim that he disturbed the polars bears and said that he does not accept the fine, Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reports.

A BBC representative said the media organization is aware of the concerns, but could not discuss them at this time since the dispute is ongoing. Roberts has two weeks to respond to Alfheim's letter.

Roberts and his team are one of many production crews that have filmed in Arctic Norway, where polar bears are one of the main attractions. According to the World Wildlife Fund, polar bears are a vulnerable species with 20,000 to 25,000 of the animals remaining in the world. An estimated 3,000 of the bears of reside on the islands of Svalbard and Franz Josef Land in the Arctic Circle.

Watch a clip of the polar bear footage in the video above.



Photos Of Bears