Premieres Wednesday, November 20 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nature and the PBS Video app
From the mighty grizzly bear to the endearing spectacled bear (the real-life “Paddington Bear”) and from the bamboo-eating panda to the bizarre-looking sloth bear, this remarkable animal family has long captured the human imagination. Among the biggest land mammals on the planet, bears need a lot of resources to survive and must use all of their skills, brawn and brains to get what they need – whether they’re foraging for honeycombs or tasty plants, standing up to their rivals or raising cubs. Follow the adventures of bears across the globe as they draw on their remarkable adaptations to survive in an ever-changing world. Find out what it really takes to be a bear.
Long TV Listing:
Follow the adventures of bears across the globe, from grizzlies to pandas to sloth bears, as they draw on their brains, brawn and unique adaptations to survive. Find out what it really takes to be a bear in today’s ever-changing world.
Short TV Listing:
Follow the adventures of bears across the globe, from the mighty grizzly to the bamboo-eating panda.
Running Time: 60 minutes
- Grizzly Bear
- Spectacled Bear
- Polar Bear
- Giant Panda Bear
- American Black Bear
- Asiatic Black Bear
- Sun Bear
- Sloth Bear
- Polar bears can pick up the scent of a seal from 20 miles away and underneath 3 feet of ice.
- To find a mate, bears rub up and down trees to leave an attractive scent. It doesn’t take long for other bears to find the scent and reciprocate; this way of communication lets the bears know who’s around and who’s available for mating.
- The Giant Panda has adapted its body and behavior to be able to almost exclusively eat bamboo. To prevent injury from the bamboo’s splinters, the panda’s esophagus and stomach are lined with tough, thick walls. Since bamboo is low in calories, the panda spends 14 hours a day chewing through 26 pounds or more of bamboo.
- In the summer, Grizzly bears time their hunting of crustaceans during the period of low tides on the exposed sand. Grizzlies can dig up to 100 clams in one low tide, and they also gather seaweed, barnacles, and mussels.
- In autumn, the Grizzly, Asiatic, and American Black bears enter a phase of excessive eating called hyperphagia, when they consume up to 100,000 calories a day. The excessive eating helps the bears during hibernation, when they don’t eat or drink for seven months and rely on their fat reserves to stay alive.
- A male Polar bear treks to find a female Polar to mate, but his long journey doesn’t promise romance at first. The female Polar bear has to be impressed; she will only mate with him if he is fit and strong. She puts him to test to prove his worth by racing down the snow-filled terrain and climbing up a mountain.
- Food is hard to come by in India’s dry grassland, so the Sloth bear must go through unusual circumstances to obtain some. At night, the Sloth bear targets a termite mound. To get inside, the bear uses its three-inch claws to tear into the mound, and its floppy lips and lack of front teeth allow its mouth to act like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up 100 termites at a time.
- For cubs, lessons start early. A Black bear cub decides to take on a fallen tree that houses a beehive filled with honey and bees. While searching for the honey, he ends up getting stung by an army of bees. The cub runs off, but his more experienced mother returns to the tree with a more strategic technique. She smashes the dead log and quickly grabs the honeycomb inside, reducing the number of stings.
Nature is a voice for the natural world, bringing the wonders of wildlife and stories of conservation to millions of American viewers. The series has won more than 700 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities and environmental organizations, including 18 Emmys and three Peabody Awards.
Nature is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and PBS. For Nature, Fred Kaufman is Executive Producer. Bill Murphy is Series Producer and Janet Hess is Series Editor. Bears is a BBC Studios production for BBC in association with THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET. The documentary is produced by Anushcka Schofield and edited by Mark Robertson. Olga Merediz is narrator.
Support for this Nature program was made possible in part by The Arnhold Family in memory of Henry and Clarisse Arnhold, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, The Fairweather Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Kathy Chiao and Ken Hao, the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust, the Filomen M. D’Agostino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, Sandra Atlas Bass, Doris R. and Robert J. Thomas, Gary and Christy Roeber, Ron Hull, The Sun Hill Family Foundation in memory of Susan and Edwin Malloy, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by Viewers Like You.
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