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As originally produced for - and broadcast on - PBS, this documentary program argues that the titular beasts represent one of nature's most remarkable species. The direct product of a global Ice Age, and the descendant of the traditional brown bear, the polar bear (or ursus martimus) learned to adapt to subthermal environs with astonishing ease and rapidity. But all is not well for these majestic creatures: as global temperatures peak and the ice slowly melts, the polar bears' sources of food are dwindling, and the beasts have begun to evince signs of intense anguish that foreshadow a dire and deadly period for it. With rapidly increasing ecological threats posed to the arctic regions, then, the polar bear's very existence may be threatened. Yet, ironically, warmer temperatures mean happier times for grizzlies, which find it difficult to thrive in subthermal climes; with rising temperatures, they may eventually, it seems, begin to usurp the polar bear's position as king of the Arctic. This program travels to the said regions, evaluates the impact of global warming on polar bears, and speculates on the future for these wondrous beasts and for traditional land grizzlies.


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