WASHINGTON (May 9, 2007)–A new National Geographic television special, “Bear Island,” offers an unprecedented close-up look at one of most majestic creatures on the planet — the grizzly bear. For the first time ever, National Geographic’s Crittercam® team deploys its groundbreaking camera technology to track one of North America’s largest land predators.
In “Bear Island,” debuting nationwide on PBS on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 (check local listings), bear biologist LaVern Beier of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the National Geographic Crittercam team join forces to vicariously walk with grizzlies into the deepest corners of their habitats.
One of the last grizzly strongholds, the dense rain forests of Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska hide more of these bears per square mile than any other place on Earth. But logging, road construction and human development are changing the shape of the grizzlies’ world. As the modern world closes in, the great bear’s world is shrinking, and encounters between humans and bears are on the rise.
Since the grizzlies on Chichagof Island spend most of their time hidden in the thick of the rain forest, it has been difficult to observe them on their turf without risking life and limb — until now.
Prior to Crittercam, bear biologists used a variety of tools such as bear snares, radio collars and GPS systems to track grizzlies in their natural habitat. Terrestrial Crittercam now allows scientists to observe up close what bears do in the woods by transmitting live images from the bear’s point-of-view to a remote receiver. The technology has made it possible to gather critical data and unprecedented television footage of how the elusive brown bears feed, breed, hunt, and survive on Chichagof Island. And in a place with more bears than humans, there is a great deal to learn to ensure a peaceful coexistence.
“Bear Island” producers Greg Marshall and Birgit Buhleier for National Geographic Television allow the viewer to experience firsthand the lessons of the wild as the scientists learn more about the bears’ natural responses to their environment while they go about their daily lives.
Marshall, the executive producer, is a scientist, inventor and filmmaker who has dedicated the last 20 years to studying, exploring and documenting life in the oceans. He developed the revolutionary animal-borne Crittercam research tool to record images, sound and data from an animal’s perspective. Discoveries made with Crittercam deployments have contributed to a major rethinking of animal wildlife conservation efforts all over the world.
Marshall is a two-time Emmy Award winner for cinematography and sound, for the National Geographic Specials “Great White Sharks” (1995) and “Sea Monsters: Search for the Giant Squid” (1999). In 1999 he produced “Tiger Shark,” a one-hour film for the National Geographic EXPLORER TV series. Today Marshall is the creator and an executive producer of almost 20 natural-history-themed conservation films. He works with Buhleier, his wife and fellow Crittercam scientist and documentary filmmaker.
About National Geographic Television
National Geographic Television (NGT) is the documentary TV production arm of the National Geographic Society, known around the world for its remarkable visuals and compelling stories. The Society is one of the world’s largest global scientific and educational organizations, supporting field science on every continent. In 1963 NGT broke ground by broadcasting on American network television the first moving pictures from the summit of Everest. Since then, NGT has continued to push technology to its limits to bring great stories to television audiences worldwide.
With 129 Emmy Awards and nearly 1,000 other industry accolades, NGT programming can be seen globally on the National Geographic Channel, as well as terrestrial and other cable and satellite broadcasters worldwide through international sales by National Geographic Television International, and on U.S. public television stations. National Geographic Channel is received by more than 290 million households in 27 languages in 164 countries.
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation’s 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS’ premier kids’ TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents’ and teachers’ most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Va.