Our relationship with bears is as old as the human race, but it’s a complicated one. In many parts of the world, they are revered for their power, almost sacred. In Alaska Native cultures, it’s not uncommon to hear advice from elders to announce your entry into bear country — and to occasionally sing or talk to the bear, to let him know you are sharing the woods and mean no harm.
In this program, we look at the bear from a variety of perspectives, thanks to the International Bear Association’s week-long conference in Anchorage.
Some of the highlights:
- A visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where we take you behind-the-scenes of the brown bear exhibit. A chance to see the public and private life of three bears who live on an 18-acre preserve, the largest of its kind in the nation.
- We hear from scientists from all over the world,who gathered in Anchorage to share their work and further understanding of the bear, an animal of many mysteries yet to be solved.
- Dan Bigley, a bear attack survivor, tells his story — how in a matter of moments his life changed forever.
- Our guest is John Hechtel, a retired Alaska Fish and Game Biologist from Fairbanks, who has studied bear attacks for more than three decades.
Also, check out this week’s Frontiers Web Extra. We hear more from John Hechtel and Elizabeth Kruger from the Anchorage office of the World Wildlife Fund. Kruger worked with the village of Wales to set up a polar bear patrol program to keep children safe.