GoPro cameras beware: Come to Alaska and you might end up as a wild animal’s lunch.
An encounter with a red fox on a remote Alaska island in mid-July left a GoPro camera mangled and in need of major repairs -- but made for some interesting footage, director Jonathan VanBallenberghe said Monday.
Shot on July 12, the video shows a red fox taking off with the camera and gnawing at it with sharp white teeth as VanBallenberghe yells in the distance.
VanBallenberghe was shooting footage on Round Island, one of seven small islands that comprise the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary in northern Bristol Bay, for a film he plans to make with University of Alaska Anchorage professor Travis Rector.
"We went to Round Island to acquire footage in order to make a fulldome planetarium show about this special place," VanBallenberghe writes in the YouTube description. The island is home to walruses, sea lions and hundreds of thousands of nesting birds, he said.
About 30 foxes live on Round Island, VanBallenberghe said from Arizona Monday, and have never had any human predators.
“They learned basically that humans are entertaining,” he said.
He already had great footage of the foxes, and was hoping to get a low-angle close-up, he said. VanBallenberghe put the camera on the ground as a fox approached.
The fox quickly grabbed the camera and ran off. “I ran after it, thinking there was a slight chance I would get it back,” VanBallenberghe said.
On Round Island, foxes have ample access to food, VanBallenberghe said. Dead voles are scattered throughout the island that he said foxes have killed for fun. The foxes are “so used to going after little things just for entertainment,” he said, that his GoPro was likely no different.
He searched for the GoPro for about eight minutes, he said, before finding it mangled among the grass.
The damaged camera turns on and records, but the outer lens and cover were gnawed off, VanBallenberghe said. He will be sending it in for repairs.
“I don’t care really,” he said. “I’m excited to have something interesting.”
His video now joins the YouTube genre of animals eating GoPros, he said, including a viral video from earlier this summer of an Alaskan grizzly gnawing on a camera.
Contact Laurel Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org.