To the Arctic

Synopsis: A journey into the lives of a mother polar bear and her two seven-month-old cubs as they navigate the changing Arctic wilderness they call home.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Greg MacGillivray
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  1 win & 1 nomination.
 
IMDB:
6.6
Metacritic:
48
Rotten Tomatoes:
62%
G
Year:
2012
40 min
$14,445,922
Website
254 Views


There are few truly wild places left...

...and none so majestic as this.

In winter, endless darkness is brightened...

...by the frisky dance of the northern lights.

And 30 below is the norm.

It's lovely weather for polar bear families.

One hundred and fifty thousand years ago...

...some brown bears moved north

and gradually adapted.

Over time, their fur turned white...

...for camouflage.

Their snouts got tonger...

...and their noses keener...

...to detect even the slightest whiff of dinner.

This is a cold, stark world...

...but to polar bear mothers and cubs...

...it's paradise.

Because they're built for the Arctic...

...polar bears cannot thrive anywhere else.

They're at home here and only here.

Polar bears have always hunted...

...from floating platforms of sea ice.

Feasting on rich seal meat...

...has made these the largest bears

in the world.

But now the Arctic is warming...

...and the sea ice is melting away...

...making it harder than ever to catch seals.

This warming...

...has left the polar bears on thin ice.

The less ice there is

to reflect the sun's rays...

...the faster the ocean warms.

That's why the Arctic is warming

twice as fast as any other region.

In 1980...

...the summer sea ice

covered 25 percent more ocean...

...than it does now.

If the current trend continues...

...the Arctic Ocean could be free of sea ice

each summer...

...by the year 2050.

Even if we can't stop this loss,

we can slow it down.

Just as we release the greenhouse gases

that are warming the region...

...we can help reduce them.

Ocean currents flow from the Arctic...

...and cool the entire planet.

So we're all closely connected

to the top of the world.

Most Arctic glaciers are melting

faster than ever before.

Ironically, the faster these glaciers melt...

...the more majestic their waterfalls.

The distance between ice packs is growing.

Nowadays, a polar bear in search of sea ice

often has further to go.

It can be a swim to nowhere.

When they can't find seals to eat...

...mothers make do with meager scraps.

One mother and her cub set out

on the longest swim ever tracked.

The mother swam continuously

for nine days...

...covering 430 miles.

But her cub did not survive.

Some cubs do survive...

...especially if the mother

is a clever scavenger.

Like polar bears...

...birds are struggling as the Arctic warms.

Arctic birds time their lives to the seasons.

So do the Inuit people...

...like Simon Qamanirq.

Polar bears surprise us in camp.

Especially in the lean summer months.

My father could read the clouds.

He knew when the storm was coming.

But now the ancient weather patterns

have changed.

Our grandfathers fed their families well.

My family has always depended

on snow and ice.

Nowadays when the ice melts,

we can adjust...

...but the polar bears are not so lucky.

The ice is forming later in the year...

...so it's thinner.

Sometimes we fall through.

My friend Adam Ravetch

has been coming up here for 20 years...

...to photograph the animals.

with her 2-year-old cub...

...cheek to cheek.

Polar bears are great swimmers...

...even though they only use...

...their gigantic front paws.

These dedicated mothers

put over two years...

...into raising their young.

Walrus moms spend even longer.

Walrus love clams.

They dive down from rafts of ice...

...which drift along

and carry them to fresh supplies...

...of their favorite treat.

As sea ice melts...

...walrus are stuck on land...

...so mothers must swim farther

to find food for their young.

Mothers teach their young survival skills...

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