As the Arctic changes faster than ever, veteran polar bear guide Dennis Compayre prepares for an epic journey; to follow polar bears for an entire year and find out how they survive despite treacherous conditions and a changing climate.
Kingdom of the Polar Bears is a two-part documentary series from CBC’s The Nature of Things, which tells the heartwarming tale of a mother polar bear as she introduces her two newborn cubs to their icy world for the first time and also provides some surprising evidence for how these animals are adapting to the changes in their mysterious realm.
Episode One introduces us to our guide, Dennis Compayre. He has lived his entire life among polar bears, and on the precipice of retirement, his last mission is to follow the bears for an entire year to see first-hand how polar bears are surviving. Using technology, gut instinct and his years of experience, he takes us out into the frozen north. In brutal temperatures, he waits patiently for the moment the newborn cubs poke their heads out of the den to experience the world for the first time. Compayre watches as the polar bear mom prepares her cubs for the perilous trek back to Hudson Bay and across the sea ice to hunt seals, teaching them how to survive in a world of dangers.
In Episode Two, Compayre travels by land and sea to witness the dangers a mother polar bear and her two cubs face as they negotiate the shifting ice, unpredictable weather and predators that threaten young cubs. As summer arrives, Compayre sees the return of his beloved bears to land and meets Robert Rockwell, a population biologist and ecologist from the Hudson Bay Project, who explains that shorter hunting seasons and less seal meat are pushing the bears to find new food sources. The amazing discovery of a group of large bears offshore is a great sign of hope and gives Compayre clues to how the bears are adapting to the changes in their environment and also their diet.