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Discovery Channel Embarks on 'Great Bear Stakeout' (Exclusive)

The network is giving viewers an up-close look at the grizzly bears of the Alaskan wilderness and their struggle to survive.

Great Bear Stakeout - H 2013
Discovery Channel
"Great Bear Stakeout"

Discovery Channel is getting up close and personal with grizzly bears in a new special.

The network is set to air Great Bear Stakeout, a co-production with BBC, from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday, May 12.

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The special will center on the grizzly bears of the Alaskan wilderness, who come out of hibernation each year only to be thrust into a life-and-death battle to feed and mate, with the drama culminating in the annual salmon run. Each bear must double its body weight in less than six months to survive another winter. Discovery says the footage will bring viewers "closer to the lives of these bears than anyone thought possible."

In order to capture the bears' struggle, a team of expert guides and wildlife filmmakers set out to live alongside the bears for the full five months that they are out of hibernation. Specially designed camera gear was used to film the bears, while "spy cams" also were employed to get closer to the animals.

Team member ecologist and conservationist Chris Morgan says the special will give viewers "a mind-blowing play-by-play of these bears' lives."

The team also was able to monitor and understand each individual bears' quirks and habits.

Says naturalist Buck Wilde: "We're going to be a part of this community for the whole season, and it will give us an opportunity to see these bears not just as one group of bears, but as a series of individuals each with their own strategy for getting through life."

Great Bear Stakeout was executive produced by Robert Zakin for Discovery and by Gavin Henderson and Vanessa Berlowitz for BBC.