It isn't easy, studying polar bears in the wild. They live in inhospitable environs and travel thousands of miles a year. Approaching closely is to be discouraged on the grounds that they are extremely large carnivores with powerful paws and sharp teeth. But John Downer and his technical wizard Geoff Bell have found a way to get up close and personal, without getting up close and personal.
With cameras that can be operated remotely or set to activate when they detect movement, and which can be disguised as snow drifts or icebergs, they have been able to capture polar bears in their natural environment the way nobody else has done before. Their show, Spy on the Ice aired on the BBC in Britain at the tail end of 2010, and here in the US on Animal Planet yesterday.