Have you ever been to a zoo to see the animals and been frustrated at the distance you have to stand from the huge predators ? Wouldn’t it be more fun if you could just get a little closer? You’d certainly get a better view inside the cage but you might get eaten.

Naturalists and wildlife documentary makers sometimes use heavy duty clear acrylic boxes to get unobscured views of otherwise dangerous situations. Some Japanese television executives picked up on the entertainment value of this and made a feature for the hit show “Sekai No Hatte Madde Itte Q” which translates as “Riddles at the Ends of the Earth!” with Dakota the bear.

Strangely enough this female Japanese participant seems a little scared and I’m not sure how much she’s enjoying the experience.

Here’s another version of a predator shield in a Discovery Channel documentary called “Bear Feeding Frenzy”. The two hosts Dr Thomas Smith and Chris Douglas come face to face with a huge 800 lb Grizzly bear and hope that the acrylic box is enough to keep them safe.

I’ve seen enough movies to know that there’s always something that can go wrong so would find it hard to place my life in the hands of the engineer that put this together.

The BBC’s Gordon Buchanan used a similar device to get close to hungry polar bears in Norway. He calls his version of the box the ice cube but ended up facing a fine from from the Norwegian authorities after “disturbing” polar bears.

The logic is that if his cage hadn’t worked and he had been attacked then the endangered bear would have had to have been shot. This implies that the authorities didn’t have much faith in his device.