Frozen Planet Faked? Polar Bear Cubs Birth Filmed In German Zoo

Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 12/12/11 11:26 Updated: 12/12/11 12:01

Frozen Planet has left fans out in the cold with revelations that footage of polar cubs being born was actually filmed in a zoo.

The BBC has come under fire for misleading viewers, with shots of the adorable polar bear babies actually taken in a man-made ice nest in Germany.

Watching the cubs being born beneath the snow was the centrepiece of episode five, which aired on 23 November, but the "newest polar bear cubs in the world" were actually born in captivity.

During the moment of birth Attenborough narrated: "On these slopes beneath the snow, new lives are beginning. The cubs are born blind and tiny.

“In two more months polar bear families will emerge on the snowy slopes all around the Arctic... but for now they lie protected within their icy cocoons.”

The popular documentary was regularly watched by more than 8 million people. The BBC defended its filming, saying that the commentary was "carefully worded" in order to avoid misleading viewers. Producer Kathryn Jeffs explained that it would be really difficult to bury cameras down into the ice nests without disturbing the bears.

"It would be completely impractical and you wouldn't want to disturb the polar bears by getting that close," she told BBC News.

"This particular sequence would be impossible to film in the wild. The way the footage was captured is clearly explained on the programme website.”

However the explanatory clip is difficult to find, buried within the the Frozen Planet’s website.

John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee told the Mirror:

"My view has always been that all broadcasters should not seek to give viewers a false impression and it is much better if they are entirely open.

"If this was not filmed in the wild it would have been much better to have made that clear in the commentary.

"It's questionable how many people would visit the website and find the video clip which explained the circumstances of the filming."

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