'Pole-dancing' wild bears video goes viral
Canadian researchers secretly filmed animals visiting a "rub tree" in the Rocky Mountains and the resulting video has become a hit online. Video courtesy of Canadian Tourism.PT2M17S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2rlzx 620 349 August 9, 2013
A hilarious video of bears enjoying using a tree as a scratching post has gone viral, much to the delight of tourism authorities.
The video, "What goes on when you are not there", is from a hidden camera set up in the Canadian Rocky Mountains provincial park Kananaskis Country.
In the clip, Alberta Parks officials caught several bears on camera scratching the tree, sometimes alone and sometimes in a small group. Given the time-lapse nature of the footage, the hilarious effect is that the bears appear to be dancing with the tree in a manner similar to pole-dancing seen in strip clubs.
The video has amassed more than 1.5 million views on YouTube in a little over two weeks and featured on US comedy show The Colbert Report. The footage was set to music similar to that in much raunchier videos, amid claims humans were under threat from "stripper bears".
The tree is considered a "communications" or "rub tree". Wildlife experts say bears scratch themselves against the "rub tree", leaving a scent as a form of communication to other bears and animals. The images are being collected as part of a collaborative study looking at multi-species habitat use within Alberta's mountainous landscape.
Canadian tourism authorities have taken advantage of the video's success to promote Alberta's parks and wildlife.
This is the second case in recent years of wildlife from Alberta going viral. In 2009, a squirrel "photo-bombed" a tourist couple in Banff National Park, popping up in the centre of the frame just as the remote shutter went off.