For anyone with the vaguest interest in polar bears, don’t miss the upcoming Thursday nights Inside Nature’s Giants at 9 pm on Channel 4.
The scientists collect blood and fresh tissue samples and collaborate with local people, who are permitted to hunt a small quota of bears. The hunting is strictly controlled, using traditional methods and avoiding mothers with cubs. The Inside Nature’s Giants experts join the expedition to carry out an anatomical dissection to explore some of the mysteries of the polar bear.
There will be ethical challenges to all animal lovers who watch, as an animal is hunted; this is an emotive issue and veterinary scientist Mark Evans is obviously upset by his first encounter with a freshly-hunted polar bear.
Having met many of the team at the Cheltenham Science Festival I was impressed by the attention to detail and how well they avoided making the series purely voyeuristic. I am sure this new series will be an equally well-balanced approach.
I have been lucky enough to see polar bears in Canada, Greenland and Spitsbergen and with a bit more luck I will be seeing more in a few months when I visit Wrangel Island in Russia’s far east, renowned as the polar bear maternity ward of the world.