Fortress of the Bears

About

Watch a preview of the PBS Nature film, Fortress of the Bears.

Alaska’s Admiralty Island is home to an estimated 1800 brown bears, the largest concentration of bears in the world. Nearly 100 miles long and 20 miles wide, it is half the size of Yellowstone National Park, yet it sustains four times more grizzlies. The native Tlingít people call this island “Kootznoowoo,” meaning “Fortress of the Bears.” It is a place where bears depend on fish, fish depend on trees, and the trees depend on fish-eating bears to spread the nitrogen rich bodies of salmon throughout the forest. Everything depends on the annual salmon run. When a change in the weather keeps the salmon from arriving, the entire ecosystem is affected.

A La Niña winter has cooled the water to two degrees below normal, keeping the salmon out of the streams and delaying the run. It’s the worst salmon season in the last 40 years. As the bears wait for the salmon, they hunt and scavenge for anything they can find to supplement their unsatisfying diet of grass. The receding tide offers unique opportunities, and one young bear demonstrates a remarkable talent for clamming. But the feast is short-lived. With the passing season showing no sign of fish, the bears become increasingly gaunt and desperate. Will the salmon finally make their way up the streams of Admiralty Island? And will the bears survive until they do?

Fortress of the Bears enters a world shaped by bears, trees, and salmon, and explores the delicate balance of their interconnected lives. Fortress of the Bears premieres Wednesday, January 25 at 8/7 c.

Production Credits Print

NARRATED BY
CHRIS MORGAN

PRODUCED BY
SHANE MOORE
JANET HESS

WRITTEN BY
JANET HESS

CINEMATOGRAPHY BY
SHANE MOORE

EDITED BY
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY

ORIGINAL MUSIC
LENNY WILLIAMS
CHRIS BIONDO

SOUND RECORDIST
DAVE RUDDICK

ADDITIONAL CINEMATOGRAPHY
MICHAEL MAUNTLER

ASSISTANT CAMERAMAN
MICHAEL MAUNTLER

FIELD ASSISTANT
MACKENZIE MOORE

SOUND DESIGN
BRIAN BEATRICE

RE-RECORDING MIXER
ED CAMPBELL

COLOR CORRECTION
GARY SCARPULLA

ONLINE EDITOR
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY

SPECIAL THANKS
ADMIRALTY ISLAND NATIONAL MONUMENT
DOUGLAS CHADWICK
GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK
MARK BRUSCINO
TONGASS NATIONAL FOREST
JOHN NEARY
US FOREST SERVICE
NONNA SHTIPELMAN

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SUPERVISING PRODUCER
JANICE YOUNG

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER LYNCH

PRODUCTION MANAGER
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
JAYNE JUN

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

A Production of Moore & Moore Films and THIRTEEN in association with National Geographic Channel and WNET.

This program was produced by THIRTEEN, which is solely responsible for its content

© 2011 THIRTEEN
All rights reserved

WEB CREDITS

PRODUCER
KATE FULTON

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
CHIE WITT

DESIGNER
JOY WEEENG

PAGEBUILDING
BRIAN SANTALONE

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
BRIAN LEE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
NICK MILLER

SENIOR DIRECTOR
DANIEL B. GREENBERG

RESEARCH AND WRITER
MOLLY FERRILL