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Frozen Planet II: Frozen Worlds

   2022    Nature    HD
Journeying from pole to pole, The series 'Frozen Planet II' reveals surprising worlds that exist across the planet and the remarkable animals that make them their home. In a fragile world of beauty and hostility, nature finds a way to survive and thrive. David Attenborough explores a planet on the brink of major change.
In the first episode, we begin our journey in the far south, in the most hostile place on earth, the frozen continent of Antarctica. After being raised on the ice in winter, emperor penguin chicks find themselves abandoned by their parents in spring. To survive, they must find their own way across the treacherous sea ice to the rich waters of the Southern Ocean.
The waters surrounding Antarctica may be the richest of all, but they are also home to an exceptionally sophisticated predator, the killer whale. To reach their favored prey, Weddell seals, a family of killer whales have learnt to generate their own waves, washing the seals off their ice floes. It’s a technique that has been passed down over generations and is coordinated by the family matriarch, who can be over 100 years old.
Leaving Antarctica and travelling north, we discover frozen habitats that are created by altitude. The greatest of these is the Himalaya, the tallest mountain range on earth, which contains so much ice and snow it is known as the third pole. In the shadow of the Himalaya lies a vast frozen grassy plain that is home to the fluffiest cat in the world, Pallas’s cat. It may have extremely dense fur, but if it’s to survive the Mongolian winter, it needs to catch lots of gerbils and voles. Easier said than done when you only have short legs and paws that are sensitive to the cold.
North of the Great Steppe lies the boreal forest, which encircles the continents of North America, Europe and Asia, and remains frozen for six months of the year. Prowling these forests in the far east of Russia is the Siberian tiger, the largest cat in the world. In winter, it is on the lookout for black bears hibernating in caves, a high-risk strategy that only a cat of this size would attempt.
Above the boreal forest, we cross into the Arctic Circle, where conditions become so extreme that trees can no longer grow. This is the tundra. Living here are relics of the last ice age, musk ox. In spring, their calves face a far greater danger than the cold, grizzly bears. Encounters can be brutal, but if just a few calves survive the gauntlet, the herd’s future is secure.
To the north of the tundra is the Arctic Ocean, the only ocean that can completely freeze over. Living here is one of the most peculiar animals on earth, the hooded seal. Males have extraordinary inflatable noses, producing a bright red balloon out of their left nostrils. One male hopes this will make him irresistible.
All of the frozen habitats share one thing in common: the threat posed by today’s climate change. Travelling to the island of Greenland, home to the largest body of ice in the northern hemisphere, we witness how global warming is melting its ice cap at faster rates than ever before, with profound consequences for global sea levels. Lastly, we visit the Arctic’s most iconic resident, the polar bear, as a mother bear struggles to provide for her cubs in a world of shrinking sea ice.
Series: Frozen Planet II

Frozen Ocean

   2022    Nature
At the top of our planet lies a magical realm, the Arctic Ocean. After four months of winter darkness, the sun returns to reveal a frozen ocean covered in ice. Mother polar bears emerge from their hillside dens and lead their cubs down to the sea ice to hunt, while a young male and female bear forge a surprising friendship out on the ice.
For others, the frozen sea is a trap. A pod of beluga whales has been confined to an ice hole for five months, slowly starving to death as the food around them runs out. Their salvation lies in the strengthening sun that comes with spring, melting the sea ice, allowing their escape.
Off the east coast of Greenland, the floating pack ice in spring is a nursery ground for harp seals. Mothers and pups have just a few weeks together for the pup to learn to swim before she leaves him to fend for himself. But in today’s warming climate, storms can tip helpless youngsters into the sea before they are strong enough to fend for themselves.
Summer is a time of plenty in the Arctic Ocean as plankton blooms feed millions of tiny mouths, such as bizarre skeleton shrimps, as well as the biggest: bowhead whales. These ancient and long-lived whales arrive en masse every year at secret locations known as whale spas. But today, with the loss of summer sea ice, their peace is shattered by orcas from the south. These daring predators are bold enough to take on the much larger bowheads, targeting their vulnerable calves.
The 24-hour daylight of the Arctic summer attracts visitors from afar, including huge flocks of seabirds like crested auklets. A male must use both his song and a secret tangerine perfume if he is to attract a mate. For the resident walrus, the summer heat can be unbearable. After hauling himself to the beach to moult, an old male uses an ingenious technique to get himself back to the cool of the water - a roly-poly!
Summers in the Arctic today bring record-breaking heat. With climate change, it is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth. It is predicted that the Arctic Ocean could become ice-free each summer by 2035, raising new challenges for polar bears. Without sea ice, more and more bears are becoming stranded on remote Arctic islands. It's a dangerous place to be for a mother bear with cubs, surrounded by larger, predatory males.
Series: Frozen Planet II

Frozen Lands

   2022    Nature
In the far north of our planet lies the largest land habitat on earth, home to snow-covered forests and the icy open tundra. These are lands of extremes that push animals to their limits: in winter they are so cold that much of the ground has remained frozen since the last ice age. To stand any chance of survival, animals must adapt in extreme ways: here a super pack of wolves, 25 strong, has come together to take on the only large prey available to them in winter, American bison.
On the featureless tundra, an Arctic fox must strike a living alone. She is a wanderer and will roam many hundreds of miles searching for tiny lemmings, hidden deep underground. The only way to reach them is with a head dive. In the remote far east of Russia, a rare Amur leopard prowls the seemingly empty, snow-covered forest. With little prey available, it must use its ingenuity to find a meal. It follows crows in the hope of finding carrion, but it must not stay long, for it shares the forest with a far larger but equally hungry big cat, the Siberian tiger.
As spring arrives, the forests begin to thaw and life returns. Beneath the ground, a nest of tiny painted turtle hatchlings now emerge, having remained frozen in a state of suspended animation throughout winter. To the north, it is a further month before the sun’s warmth baths the frozen ground of the tundra. Tucked away underground lies a tiny snow queen – a Lapland bumble bee. She is the sole survivor of her colony - the rest perished in the winter freeze - but her larger size, her furry body and antifreeze in her blood have allowed her to survive. Now she is in a hurry. She must feed herself and raise a brood in the brief window of summer while the flowers are in bloom.
Snowy owls also use the open tundra to breed: one pair have raised a nest full of fluffy chicks. With 24-hour daylight in which to hunt, the dedicated parents bring back meal after meal for their ever-growing brood. But one day, they return to find the nest empty.
Today, the biggest challenge in the tundra is climate change. Warming summers are melting the permafrost deep within the soil, causing the ground to thaw and, in places, the land to collapse. These changes are impacting the animals too. Caribou arrive in herds of 200,000 individuals to raise their calves in the rich pastures, but warming means mosquitos emerge sooner and bother the calves before they have had a chance to gain strength. The parents drive their young to cooler, mosquito-free land, but to get there they must cross rivers running with increased meltwater and escape hungry grizzly bears. They, like much of the tundra's wildlife, are adapted to live in the extremes - but the challenge of today’s warming climate could be one extreme too many.
Series: Frozen Planet II

Our Frozen Planet

   2022    Nature
Our frozen planet is changing. In this final episode, we meet the scientists and people dedicating their lives to understanding what these changes mean, not just for the animals and people who live there, but for the world as a whole.
Our journey begins in the Arctic, where every summer huge quantities of ice calve from the edges of Greenland’s melting glaciers. On top of the ice cap itself, glaciologist Alun Hubbard descends into a moulin to try to understand the mechanisms that are driving this historic loss of ice.
Elsewhere in the Arctic, it’s not just land ice that is disappearing. In the Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada, biologists are trying to find out how the loss of sea ice will impact the lives of baby harps. In Arctic Russia, with the loss of summer sea ice, more and more polar bears are arriving on the island of Wrangel. Here, a local ranger and scientists are braving the hungry bears to assess their future survival.
Loss of sea ice impacts not just wildlife but people too. In the remote community of Qaanaaq, Greenland, local Inuit hunters are finding the ice too dangerous to travel and hunt on, risking their traditional way of life. And these changes happening in the Arctic have the potential to affect people far beyond. On Alaska’s open tundra, bubbling lakes hint at the gases being released from the previously frozen soil, including the potent greenhouse gas methane.
There is one place where the full scale of a melting Arctic can be best witnessed - from space. Based in the International Space Station, astronaut Jessica Meir looks down at forest fires across Europe and reflects how our changing weather patterns are interconnected.
Rapid ice loss is also happening across the high mountains of the planet’s continents. Glaciologist Hamish Pritchard uses a sophisticated helicopter-strung radar system to try to quantify how much ice is left in the previously uncharted glaciers of the Himalayas. It’s important as, downstream, some 1.2 billion people rely on glacial meltwater as their primary source of fresh water.
Finally, in Antarctica, we meet Bill Fraser, who has dedicated 45 years of his life to studying the Adelie penguin. Over this period, he has witnessed changes in weather conditions and the extinction of entire colonies. These ‘canaries in the coal mine’ are a sign that all is not well, even in the remotest place on earth. And changes here have the potential to affect all of us, so an international group of scientists is on an urgent mission to assess the stability of a huge body of ice known as the Thwaites ice shelf. If this plug of ice melts and slips into the ocean, it will raise global sea levels, impacting coastal communities across the planet.
The unprecedented changes our scientists are witnessing may be profound, but there is hope that, through a combination of technology and willpower, there is still time to save what remains of our frozen planet.
Series: Frozen Planet II

Bear Woodlands

   2020    Nature
In the boreal forests of Europe, a young brown bear clashes with wolves and tries to find a mate beneath the stars. On the edge of the Arctic Circle, lies an enchanted wilderness. In Europe's boreal forest, It's so far north that in winter, nights can last 20 hours. This woodland is home to a population of secretive bears that lives most of their lives in the dark. But now, using low-light cameras we can see their nighttime world as if it were day.
Series: Earth at Night in Color

Frozen Worlds

   2019    Nature    HD
The polar regions of our planet may seem beyond the reach of most of us, but they are not beyond our influence. We, unintentionally, are changing these frozen worlds, and these changes will not just affect the poles but the whole planet. On the unforgiving frontier of climate change, polar bears, walruses, seals and penguins find their icy Edens in peril.
Series: Our Planet
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