Robert Biggs, a 69 year old photographer, was roaming the forests of north-central California when he discovered some photogenic bears that he desperately wanted to capture on film. Mamma bear and her cub ignored Biggs, and continued their natural behavior for the benefit of Biggs' camera.
Overhead, a panther perched on a tree branch examining the scene below. To one side, a man, healthy and fresh, too preoccupied with his camera to provide any resistence. The other side, a large bear, formidable but preoccupied with her cub, and with no love of humans.
Grinning, the panther leaped upon Mr. Biggs to tear out his throat and have himself a tasty meal.
Biggs's backpack, which was up and around his head, blocked the initial attack giving the forest adventurer a moment's respite in which to determine his options for self-preservation. There were none.
But fortunately for Biggs, the mamma bear, enraged by the panther's snarling and vicious behavior in the presence of her cub, attacked the panther.
Bear and panther struggled and tussled. The mamma bear beat on the jungle cat for about 15 seconds before the cat fled to safety, vanishing into the forest.
Though the bear was doubtlessly interested mostly in eliminating the ruckus and the threat to her own cub, Mr. Biggs owes a debt of gratitude to his great, furry protector.