Monday, March 28, 2011

Spycams sneak within a paw’s swipe of the world’s largest land predators - Polar bears. Polar Bear Spy on the Ice gets closer than ever before to these charismatic bears and reveals their astonishing intelligence and curiosity.

Iceberg-cam, blizzard-cam and snowball-cam are a new generation of spycams on a mission to explore the icy Arctic islands of Svalbard in Norway. Backed up by snow-cam and drift-cam, these technologically advanced spycams contain sophisticated electronics to endure polar arctic conditions.

From the outset, the wildlife filmmakers are faced with some of nature’s greatest challenges. But one spycam is just a breath away as cubs emerge from winter maternity dens.

Next the spycams team up and prepare to follow in the footsteps of polar bear mothers and cubs as they face their first summer in a world of shrinking ice. Each mother has a single goal, to guide her cubs to the rich hunting grounds of the sea ice. But on the way they must run the gauntlet of roaming males.

One mother and her cubs make it, and iceberg-cam tracks them across shifting ice as they head north towards the sturdier pack ice. But not all bears are so lucky - a mother and cub are marooned on the island, and it’s here that spycams reveal the true depth of polar bears’ intelligence.The land offers slim pickings and spycams discover how land-locked bears unearth new opportunities hunting walrus, diving for kelp, eating grass and even raiding bird colonies - filmed for the first time. Elsewhere on the island a washed-up whale carcass offers a bear banquet; and iceberg-cam captures the bears’ little-known social nature as they share this rare bounty.

Back on the sea ice, iceberg-cam makes another discovery - the polar bears' astonishing intelligence as they hunt seals. While life is relatively good on the ice it has its dangers. The mother and her cubs reach the end of the drift ice and are faced with a marathon swim. Will they make it to the security of the pack ice?

With spycams at their side, Polar Bear Spy on the Ice follows the bears’ fate during a difficult ice-free summer. Ultimately, spycams reveal that polar bears’ intelligence and curiosity are key to their survival in a world of shrinking ice.

Producer Philip Dalton
Directed by John Downer

A John Downer Production for BBC and Animal Planet

Polar bears smash the spy cams ...

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