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NATURE: Bears Of The Last Frontier: The Road North

Airs Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: This mother black bear and her cubs are true urban bears. They have learned to look both ways before crossing the street.

Get up close and personal with North American bears in NATURE's three-part special "Bears of the Last Frontier." NATURE joins adventurer and bear biologist Chris Morgan on a year-long motorcycle odyssey deep into Alaska’s bear country to explore the amazing resiliency and adaptability of these majestic animals as they struggle to make a living in five dramatically diverse Alaskan ecosystems: coastal, urban, mountain, tundra, and pack ice.

Adventurer and bear biologist Chris Morgan takes a break after an exhausting drive on the way to Anchorage from Homer along a back road.
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Above: Adventurer and bear biologist Chris Morgan takes a break after an exhausting drive on the way to Anchorage from Homer along a back road.

Male black bear gets into trash left in a trailer in an Anchorage neighborhood. This bear eventually moved on into the nearby woods.
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Above: Male black bear gets into trash left in a trailer in an Anchorage neighborhood. This bear eventually moved on into the nearby woods.

In this episode, Chris Morgan explores the world of black bears caught in the crossroads of urban development in Anchorage and the wilderness. This is a new normal for bears and for their human neighbors.

Some bears are so comfortable living in urban surroundings that their primary habitat is a golf course. In residential areas, bears frequently raid garbage bins and birdfeeders for easy snacks. But these behaviors are less than ideal for bears and residents alike.

Morgan heads north out of Anchorage to Denali National Park, where the mountains loom over treeless plains and bears get by on a diet of thousands of berries a day. The grizzlies share the enormous park with foxes, wolves and moose — and with one intrepid bear biologist and his team.

Morgan continues his journey north on a bone-shaking, 610-mile motorcycle journey from Denali to Prudhoe Bay along the only Alaskan highway to reach the Arctic. Prudhoe Bay, a once pristine area at the edge of the Arctic Ocean, has been changed forever by the oil industry.

Up Next:

"Bears Of The Last Frontier: Arctic Wanderers" airs Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8 p.m.

The first episode, "Bears Of The Last Frontier: City Of Bears," originally aired in 2011, and rebroadcast July 11, 2012.

NATURE is on Facebook, and you can follow @PBSNature on Twitter.

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Nature: Bears Of The Last Frontier: The Road North

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.

Video

Series Preview: Nature: Bears Of The Last Frontier

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.

Above: Get up close and personal with North American bears in NATURE's three-part special "Bears Of The Last Frontier." Nature joins adventurer and bear biologist Chris Morgan on a year-long motorcycle odyssey deep into Alaska’s bear country to explore the amazing resiliency and adaptability of these majestic animals as they struggle to make a living in five dramatically diverse Alaskan ecosystems: coastal, urban, mountain, tundra, and pack ice.

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