Get up close and personal with North American bears in
Nature’s three-part special
Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
Beginning May 8, 2011 on WTVP 47.1
Bears are an ultimate icon of the wild, regarded as among the most successful wild animals on the planet. Three of the eight
bear species in the world – brown bears, black bears, and polar bears –can be found in Alaska, one of North America’s last truly wild
frontiers. Nature joins adventurer and bear
biologist Chris Morgan on a year-long motorcycle odyssey deep into Alaska’s bear country to explore the amazing resiliency and adaptability of
these majestic animals as they struggle to make a living in five dramatically diverse Alaskan ecosystems: coastal, urban, mountain, tundra,
and pack ice. Bears of the Last Frontier,
a special three-part series, premieres on three consecutive Sundays, beginning May 8, 2011 at 7 p.m. on WTVP 47.1. Encore performances
are schedules each Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. with additional airings on WTVP World 47.2. The programs will also stream at
pbs.org/nature for viewers to watch at any time.
A companion book documenting the epic journey and the making of the film will be released by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of ABRAMS
in April 2011.
Currently in its 29th Season, Nature is a production of THIRTEEN in association with WNET New York Public Media –
one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.
“There’s a constant tension filming bears on their turf,” said Fred Kaufman, Series Executive Producer. “Nature is
pleased to have Chris Morgan as our guide into this unknown territory where anything can happen. His journey into the world of the
bears features mesmerizing spontaneous interactions with them that can be both suspenseful and captivating. He allows us to get a
look at the candid behavior of bears being bears in their natural surroundings.”
Traveling with a small film crew whose inclusion in the series creates a behind-the-scenes feel throughout, Morgan
immerses himself completely in the bears’ world to give us an astonishingly intimate portrait of North American bears. Over the
course of a 3,000 mile journey that includes the Alaska Peninsula, Anchorage, Denali, Brooks Range, Kaktovik, and Barrow, Morgan
reveals bears as curious individuals with unique personalities. They are complex socials animals with lives that are extremely
vulnerable to habitat encroachment and climate change.
From lush forests to icy Arctic,
Bears of the Last Frontier
captures the allure of the wild symbolized by these remarkable creatures. Over the course of three episodes, the film reveals
survival strategies of each of the three bear species.
Part 1 – City of Bears
Chris Morgan sets up camp at a remote spot in the heart of Alaskan wilderness, alongside the largest concentration of grizzlies in
the world. It is June in the Alaska Peninsula. The sun sets well into night and bears are taking advantage of the long days to
feed, mate, and raise new cubs. Morgan tracks their progress as they feast on the riches of the season and re-establish the complex
hierarchal social dynamics of bear society. Along the way, he experiences close encounters with bears, observing brutal battles among
males during mating season as well as tender moments between a grizzly mom and her cubs.
Part 2 – The Road North
The second hour explores the world of black bears caught in the crossroads of urban development in Anchorage and the wilderness.
This is a new normal for bears and for their human neighbors. Some bears are so comfortable living in urban surroundings that their
primary habitat is a golf course. In residential areas, bears frequently raid garbage bins and birdfeeders for easy snacks. But these
behaviors are less than ideal for bears and residents alike. Morgan heads north out of Anchorage to Denali National Park, where the
mountains loom over treeless plains and bears get by on a diet of thousands of berries a day. The grizzlies share the enormous park with
foxes, wolves, and moose — and with one intrepid bear biologist and his team. Morgan continues his journey north on a bone-shaking
610-mile motorcycle journey from Denali to Prudhoe Bay along the only Alaskan Highway to reach the Arctic. Prudhoe Bay, a once-pristine
area at the edge of the Arctic Ocean, has been changed forever by the oil industry.
Part 3 – Arctic Wanderers
In the final hour, Chris Morgan travels to the far north of Alaska, the tiny North Slope town of Kaktovik. It’s early November and
winter is coming on. But each year, the polar bears struggle for extended periods on dwindling fat reserves, waiting for the
opportunity to hunt on sea ice that takes longer to freeze. In early spring, Morgan joins local hunters in Barrow, the northernmost
city in Alaska, as they go out on their own hunts, facing some of the same challenges as the bears. In late spring, Morgan travels to
the North Slope of the Brooks Range, where countless thousands of caribou cover the ground for miles. The grizzlies are waiting for
them, as they have for thousands of years.
Nature’s Bears of the Last Frontier is a production of Pontecorvo Productions and THIRTEEN in
association with Wildlife Media, National Geographic Channel and WNET. Written and Produced by Joe Pontecorvo. Nature is a production
of THIRTEEN in association with WNET for PBS. Fred Kaufman is Executive Producer. William Grant is Executive-in-Charge.
About the Nature
Nature pioneered a television genre that is now widely emulated in the broadcast industry. Throughout the
series’ history, Nature has brought the natural world into the homes of millions of viewers. The series has been consistently among
the most-watched primetime series on public television.
Nature has won nearly 600 honors from the television industry, the international wildlife film communities,
and environmental organizations – including 10 Emmys, three Peabodys and the first award given to a television program by the Sierra
Club. In October of 2010, the series won the Christopher Parsons Outstanding Achievement Award, given to “an organization or individual
that has made a globally significant contribution to wildlife filmmaking, conservation and/or the public’s understanding of the
environment.” The award, given by the Wildscreen Festival in Bristol, England, is one of the wildlife film industry’s highest honors.
pbs.org/nature is the award-winning
web companion to Nature featuring streaming episodes, teacher’s guides and more.
Major corporate support for Nature is provided by Canon U.S.A., Inc. Additional support is provided by the Lillian
Goldman Charitable Trust, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by the nation’s public television stations.
For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of
at (309) 495-0591 or firstname.lastname@example.org