Laura Heffelfinger 0

Discovery Channel BEAR WEEK

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In many ways, we’ve all grown up with bears. From small, stuffed creatures that we clutch to allay our fear of the boogeyman each night, to a source of local pride on the gridiron; bears are with us, always. A force of greater majesty and danger than most creatures, bears incite fear while reminding us of the power of beauty and mystery in the natural world. They wear many furs: predator, mother, explorer and (honey) lover. Yet, these transcendental creatures lurk in the background of our animal pantheon, like the enduring Allison Janney, seldom acknowledged for their true celebrity. Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week is a success to the point of iconography– 2-ton prehistoric beasts defy gravity, while a tanned Australian whoops and hollers in the background. Exotic locales, pulse-pounding re-enactments, an underwater world we can’t possibly conceive of inhabiting. What we viewers really want, however, is the thrill of the kill– we can all admit that we’re not reading Playboy for the articles. But in recent years, despite the development of high-speed cameras, the thrill has waned. Maybe it’s the same story, different day? Maybe it’s time for a new story, a new predator to champion. One that teaches us how to learn and love again, as only Shark Week could. Maybe it’s time for Bear Week. Bear Week 2013 is an initiative to start a new Discovery Channel tradition, one that explores the magnificent predators who are, quite literally, in our own backyard. Bear Week is many things. It is educational: What are the different subspecies of brown bears? What should I do if I cross paths with a black bear? Do they really enjoy the taste of human flesh, or are they simply threatened by my sweet carbon-frame mountain bike? Which bear is best? Bear Week is entertaining: Bears on celluloid, representation of the divine Ursine! From ‘The Edge’– a mediocre, but nonetheless thrilling film starring Alec Baldwin and Sir Anthony Hopkins– to the outstanding ‘Grizzly Man,’ produced and narrated by everyone’s favorite New German Cinema director, Werner Herzog. Bear Week is inspirational: The polar bear is running the risk of extinction and the brown bear is being encroached upon, forced to rummage through our dumpsters, like a hobo meth-addict. It’s time for us to act. As the shark is affected by the melting polar ice caps, so too is the gentle polar bear. In order to protect these bears, white and brown alike, we need to know more about them. And to know the bear, is to love it. So join us in the movement to bring Bear Week 2013 to the Discovery Channel (or Animal Planet if Discovery Channel are being jerks). Together we can learn how to better protect these beautiful giants, and maybe see some bloody re-enactments along the way. Bear Week 2013. Think about it.


Bear Week 2013. Let's do it.

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