Channel 4 and STV Productions have been granted unprecedented and exclusive access to document the breeding and birth of the first polar bear cub to be born in the UK for 25 years.
A unique hour-long documentary – Britain’s Polar Bear Cub – filmed over two years by STV Productions for Channel 4, will follow the pioneering polar bear breeding programme at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland Highland Wildlife Park.
The announcement follows news of the cub emerging for the first time this week, captured by remote cameras. Prior to the first sighting, the birth – which happened a week before Christmas – had only been confirmed by high-pitched noises from the den.
The Channel 4 documentary will follow the huge undertaking as keepers attempt to mate Victoria, Britain’s only female polar bear, with a male called Arktos in the hope that she would give birth to a cub.
Viewers will get an insight into the extraordinary biology of polar bears, how they mate and how they raise their young, and the film will explore the role polar bear breeding in captivity has to play in the species’ future survival.
“The tireless dedication of the keepers, combined with Victoria’s incredible journey, makes for a compelling story we were keen to tell. Underlying this, there’s an important conservation message to share for the future.”
Peter Collins, Executive Producer at STV Productions,
“We are very excited to be able to commission this film from STV Productions in Scotland. It is a fascinating story about one of the world’s most totemic creatures which touches the heart but also brings into focus some of the most pressing environmental issues facing the planet.”
Tom Porter, Commissioning Editor, Channel 4
“The birth of the first polar bear in the UK for 25 years is a tremendous achievement and testament to the team at our Highland Wildlife Park, where we have developed a world-leading polar bear management programme.
“We have been delighted to work with STV Productions and Channel 4 to tell this story as it is vital to raise awareness of the ever-increasing threats polar bears face in the wild and to do all we can to safeguard the future of this magnificent species.”
Barbara Smith, Chief Executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland,
The 1 x 60 documentary, Britain’s Polar Bear Cub, will air on Channel 4 at 7pm on Sunday 18 March. Following this, it will be distributed internationally (as The Polar Bear Cub) by BBC Worldwide.
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