I like nature programs – especially ones about weird animals. The opening credits hinted that I’d be seeing some pretty alarming stuff, making me really excited for things to get started, not just because the first episode was entitled ‘Alien Ice Bear’.
‘An alien bear?’ I thought. ‘Wicked!’
The program opened with a lot of reconstructions and talking heads. Apparently, some American businessman had gone off to shoot a Polar Bear and had ended up shooting something that wasn’t a Polar Bear. He got into a lot of trouble because he only had a license to shoot a Polar Bear.
Now, I should point out that I shoot things occasionally – rabbits mostly, and then I eat them – but the idea that anyone would be allowed to shoot a Polar Bear horrifies me. They’re rare and their habitat is rapidly shrinking, so we should be doing everything we can to protect them. This probably doesn’t involve letting American businessmen shoot them for shits and giggles.
The businessman shot the bear and posed for photos. The photos showed that this bear had black eyeliner on, so it wasn’t a Polar Bear. Teen Polar Bears don’t become goths to rebel, so this meant he’d bagged some other species. When you do shoot a Polar Bear you have to bring some bits back to show some Rangers so that they can be sure you shot it and not a moose or something.
At this point we got to listen to a CSI-type person waffling on about how they couldn’t tell what it was. A taxidermist also rambled on about how they had never seen anything like this before. We eventually got the point that he’d managed to accidentally shoot something even rarer than a Polar Bear.
After thirty minutes of these people saying ‘Gee wizz! We killed a unicorn!’ they dropped the bombshell that you can cross-breed Polar Bears with other bears. People used to do it in zoos all the time – those crazy Victorians, eh?
The bear, which I was starting to get bored of, was actually just a cross-breed and not that alien at all, really. Nobody had ever heard of a hybrid being born in the wild, so they’d ultimately proved that it could happen by shooting it. Great.
So, after an hour long program they had conveyed information that could be summed up in a paragraph of text.
Next week they’re covering some man-eating river monster that killed someone. They never found a body. I’m going to presume that the vicious monster that killed a person was a rock and go and read a book instead. Or shoot a Gorilla.