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'NATURE: Bears'
(DVD / PG / 2020 / PBS)

Overview: From the mighty grizzly, to the bamboo eating panda, and the bizarre looking sloth bear, this special animal family must use all of their skills, brawn, and brains to get what they need.

Whether it's raiding beehives for honey, standing up to their rivals, or raising cubs, PBS's Nature program follows the adventures of bears across the globe as they draw on their unique adaptations to survive in an ever-changing world.

DVD Verdict: Primarily focusing on the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), also known as the "North American brown bear" or simply grizzly, we soon discover that it is a large population or subspecies of the brown bear inhabiting North America.

Funnily enough, and revealing something I actually never even considered knowing before, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark first described it as "grisley," which could be interpreted as either "grizzly" (i.e., "grizzled" that is, with golden and grey tips of the hair) or "grisly" ("fear - inspiring", now usually "gruesome")!

The modern spelling supposes the former meaning; even so, naturalist George Ord formally classified it in 1815 as U. horribilis, not for its hair, but for its character.

The spectacled bear (the real-life "Paddington Bear") is the only bear native to South America, and is the largest land carnivoran on that part of the continent, although as little as 5% of its diet is composed of meat.

Another bear we delve into is the sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) which is a myrmecophagous bear species native to the Indian subcontinent.

It feeds on fruits, ants and termites and is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, mainly because of habitat loss and degradation.

It has also been called "labiated bear" because of its long lower lip and palate used for sucking insects. It has a long, shaggy fur, a mane around the face, and long, sickle-shaped claws.

It is lankier than brown and Asian black bears and it shares features of insectivorous mammals and evolved during the Pleistocene from the ancestral brown bear through convergent evolution.

So, come on into 55 minute bear adventure, safely in the hands of PBS, as it will not only entertain you, but educate you also. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.