The Fear Island Special that Aired on Animal Planet Last Night was Full of Shit

The Animal Planet network has a history of airing misleading pseudo-science on many of their specials.  In their fake documentaries, researchers (usually actors posing as scientists) are on the hunt for creatures undiscovered by science.  In the past they have supposedly discovered evidence for mermaids and the continued existence of a long extinct shark species known as Carcharodon megalodon.  Last night, they aired a special culminating Monster Week entitled Fear Island.  A trio including a so-called scientist, a skeptic, and an Indian tracker were following a particularly large specimen of Kodiak bear.  The so-called scientist had a theory that Kodiak bears were either an hybrid between brown bears (Ursus arctos) X polar bears (Ursus maritimus) or an hybrid between brown bears X and an extinct species of bear from the Pleistocene (Arctodus simus).  They used camera traps and collected DNA samples from hair and feces to prove that this bear was an hybrid, and that it was 2600 pounds which would make it more than double the size of an ordinary Kodiak bear.  This gave the show a verisimilitude of real science, but it was not.

Image result for Fear Island on Animal Planet misleading

Don’t believe anything you see on Animal Planet.  They air unscientific bullshit.

There was a big problem with this special–scientists have already conducted many genetic studies of the Kodiak bear population.  Kodiak bears grow to more than double the size of the average mainland brown bear because of their diet…not because they are somehow a different species.  They enjoy an unusual abundance of salmon.  Genetic studies suggest Kodiak bears are the same species as the brown bear, and there is no admixture of polar bear in this population.  Moreover, the genetic studies indicate there is so little genetic difference between mainland brown bears and Kodiak bears that the latter should not even be considered a separate subspecies.  Nevertheless, at the end of the special Animal Planet claimed their genetic tests determined the Kodiak bear the hosts were following was a brown bear X polar bear hybrid, but tests to determine if there was giant short-faced bear DNA were inconclusive.  I promise, this supposed genetic test will never be subject to peer review in a real scientific journal because they were full of shit.  The giant short faced bear belonged to the Tremarctine group indigenous to the Americas, and these bears were separated from the Ursus bears by millions of years of evolution, making it highly unlikely that they ever interbred.  Plus, there is no genetic material of giant short-faced bears available for comparison.  So, of course, that finding would be inconclusive.

No way did the bear they were following weigh 2600 pounds as they estimated.  Any brown bear walking past a camera trap is going to look big, and I’m sure their estimate was badly miscalculated.  To prove it weighed that much, they would actually have to weigh it.

The Indian tracker told of an incident when 6 bears carried a dead bear to an hole they dug and buried it in a funeral like ceremony.  He told it with a straight face, but obviously he was pulling their leg.  Nevertheless, the so-called skeptic believed his story.  Don’t believe anything you see on Animal Planet.  This network lost its credibility a long time ago.

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21 Responses to “The Fear Island Special that Aired on Animal Planet Last Night was Full of Shit”

  1. ina puustinen-westerholm Says:

    Since I only watch..what is the ‘free feed..from our local news, plus opb..I have no awareness..of an ..animal planet..program. After reading this..who..places enough money..at the disposal of..the animal plan. folks? Agendas..with whatelse..in the background? Hell..the next special on their planet then..is apt to be the ‘secret diarys of bigfoot..eh”?

  2. markgelbart Says:

    I think the History Channel has a monopoly on Bigfoot programs.

  3. Nicjon Says:

    Dude, I just finished watching this shit and knew from the gecko it was so fake and staged. My girlfriend kept insisting it was real and I am glad to see when I googled this crap I found this article. I am a frequent deer hunter and with animal tracking experience I can tell you they literally saw a fake spot on the floor that looked like a footprint which clearly looked like nothing but just a dead spot of moss and they stated “yup that’s grandfather” … hell if they were so good at determining it was a specific bear by just looking at 1 print then I want to take there asses hunting with me! and of course the perfect DNA matched at the ending like if we are fucking retarted and werent expecting it…if this was real this would have been enough evidence to leave more trail cameras behind in the area because according to them they say Bears are territorial…so if they concluded that is “grandfather” and know it’s living region they can funnel their surveillance for the next two months with cameras all over the place and mark spots on gps trackers so they can get more photos and videos. What type of shit is this ? They go on a 400 yr old un-walked trail and then leave when they finally supposably find the dam thing ? Heck, why leave and end the long ass adventure when you finally know where it is ?.. It must of not been such a big break thru in science… you can even see how the videos of the bears were edited and the bear doesnt even look real. This shit reminded me of the dumbass mermaid documentary they made few years ago on discovery. I gotta hand it to them they did great acting. The oscar goes to ! (You decide)

  4. Daisycherry Says:

    You know at first I thought it was real but ofcourse why would I think anything on tv is real anymore. Everything lately on tv is fake, just like the news. This is what is being taught to kids and it is not fair anymore. I dont remember growing up watching something fake and not being told it was fake. Stop messing with peoples heads so that animal planet can get more viewers and make a buck out of it. Its not right and karma is a btch. Find something productive to show and not something that was thoughtout around the fire place during story time.

  5. rc33 Says:

    What kinda chump must you be to believe any f’n element of the mainstream news nowadays is not in-the-tank and compromised?
    Putz….

    • markgelbart Says:

      I’m educated enough to understand the difference between fact and fiction. I understand bias and I am able to discern truth and falsehood.

      Where do you get your news?

      Alex Jones conspiracy shithead network?

      You are the chump.

  6. Felicia Corage Says:

    I’m not a scientist but I totally agree with your opinion of animal planet! Why do they insist on creating this scripted b.s. that children may watch and believe? Why, because they can and apparently it makes them money! P.S. that trail cam was not even close to 6 ft off the ground!

  7. sarah johnson Says:

    Only Haters would say it is fake😂

  8. sarah johnson Says:

    all of you need to stop saying it is fake. Grow your ass up. fr. it is not fake, they did not just do this for money. You WHITE people need to understand. you guys do not know anything about our culture. You guys have no say if it is real or not. GET A JOB. IF YOU HAVE ONE THAT IS GOOD MIND YOUR BUSINESS. Ain’t nobody care about your saying. THIS IS NOT FAKE. IT IS REAL. NOW STOP BEING HATERS AN ASK THE PEOPLE YOURSELF.

  9. Roger Wlcox Says:

    I found this page after watching the show in iTunes, after a buddy told me about it. And it was awesome! I went online to read the articles about the show, to find out more, and then I stumbled across this garbage. I’m sick and tired of macho lounge-chair hunter pretender types calling everything fake.
    First of all, smart guy, at no point the documentary did they ever say these were Kodiak bears or that they were on Kodiak – watch it again dumbass and you will see that they said they were Kootznoowoo bears, and they were on Kootznoowoo, which is also called Admiralty island in English.
    And if you actually had any scientific field experience you would know that everything they did along the way made perfect sense. Keep in mind they spent months doing this expedition and we only get to watch 2 hours of highlights. So don’t start bitching about all the drama and things that seemed unusual or out of place – this show was shot on location but it was stitched together in a Hollywood editing room, over 2,000 miles away.
    To that end, I agree that this nature documentary was definitely presented as a mystery thriller, rather than straight natural history – so yes, some Hollywood license was taken in regards to making the build-up of tension along the way more entertaining. I can get how this would piss off the purists.
    But these are real bears, and real Native Americans on a real island off the coast of Alaska. Alvin, the Tlingit hunter/scout, is a former US Army sniper, and Bradley Trevor Greave, the team leader, is a legit baddass, check out his Wikipedia page if you can stomach any more humble pie. And if you check the credits, you’ll see that the DNA was verified by Charlotte Lindquist, a top bear genetics expert from the University of Buffalo. So are you now claiming her whole team were in on your ridiculous conspiracy?!
    So basically – a credible team, went to a real place, with real bears, gathered real poop and real hair samples to deliver irrefutable real DNA evidence, plus secured real footage of the actual bear on camera, and all you can do is spout off to try and make yourself sound smart and tough – like you are better than everybody else, and nothing is good enough for you.
    I challenge all the haters like you to go to Angoon for themselves instead of spouting off online like a pack of cowardly ignorant jerks who could never do anything like this in a million years. If you have the balls to go to Kootznoowoo, please give Bradley, Alvin and Grandfather my best regards.
    And if you don’t have the balls, then just do us all a favor and shut the hell up!

    • markgelbart Says:

      A DNA study of Kootznoowoo bears was already conducted 5 years before this phony show. See the link: https://news.ucsc.edu/2013/03/polar-bear-genomics.html

      Unlike Kodiak bears, Kootznoowoo bears do have some admixture of polar bear. But that was already determined in a previous study. The people tracking the bear acted as if they were the first people to study these bears. There was no mystery because it had already been solved.

      The size estimate was total BS too.

      BTW, I never claimed to be some kind of hunter tracker, so referring to me as a lounge-chair hunter misses the mark by a mile.

      • Roger Wlcox Says:

        Okay, I want to dial this back a little, the name calling isn’t helping and we are missing the point: Which is that you went out of your way to slam the whole program because you believed the show was about Kodiak, and it isn’t.
        I was notified a few hours ago about your comment that you were absolutely certain it was set on Kodiak, but now I see you have deleted that comment as you have realized the truth, and so instead you are back-peddling to try and save face, and instead quote a single study paper link that you found Kootznoowoo off of wikipedia.
        I’m not fussed about winning an online argument, I just want to lay out the facts so that you can see that your original claims and subsequent were based on a false assumption, and then I respectfully ask you to reconsider your position.
        • Not once did they say Kodiak. The entire show is set on (aka Admiralty Island).
        • The team start out in Angoon, the only village on Kootnoowoo/Admiralty.
        • Alvin is Tlingit, and the team meet with Tlingit elders – the population of Angoon/Kootznoowoo is Tlingit. The Native American people of Kodiak are the Sugpiaq, an Alutiiq Nation.
        • Here is a link to a online article talking about how this show is set on Kootznoowoo: https://hiddenremote.com/2018/05/30/fear-islands-bradley-trevor-greive-talks-finding-grandfather-deer-teeth-future/
        • Plus the whole point of the study was to show that the bears on Kootznoowoo are not like other Alaskan brown bears, especially the ABC bears in the Alexander Alexander Archipelago – yes, they have a shared heritage, but have evolved differently because the Kootznoowoo bears were cut off and isolated by the retreating ice.
        • If you actually read that study you referenced you’ll see the samples were taken from bears around Sitka – almost no data was recorded from Kootnoowoo (just one sample) and then assumptions were made for all the surrounding islands.
        • I called the Angoon Trading Post in Kootznooowoo and asked if this show was real, and asked if they had heard of the people in the show, and they said it was real, and they know the people in the show very well (except for Jonny, who only came the one time for filming). Alvin and his family still live on the island, and Bradley has been coming there each season to study the bears for the past 5 or 6 years! Here’s the number, call them for yourself: (907) 788-3111
        • There is no claim that all the bears on this island are as big as Grandfather – this bear is regarded as exceptional from the outset – though you can clearly see that many of the bears they encounter are far bigger than average, with sows at 8 feet and boars at 10.
        • I don’t dispute that Animal Planet edited the show to make it more entertaining – in my view the Hollywood elements take away from the show, and I hate how the DNA results are just an add on at the end – but to write the whole program off as fake is plain wrong. It’s easy to dismiss things in this day and age, but to lump this program with some crap about mermaids, megaladon, and big foot is not right.
        • Like you, I have some issues with the show, but there is no doubt in my mind the basic elements are real.
        • Bottom line – This expedition looked scary as hell, I loved the show, I have great respect for the team, especially Alvin and Bradley, and also for the Tlingit people who have lived in harmony with the giant bears on Kootznoowoo for at least 10,000 years.

  10. markgelbart Says:

    I never wrote that they didn’t actually go to the island. Nor did I claim the tracker wasn’t an indigenous person.

    On 2nd thought, maybe I was too harsh in my criticism. I assumed it was like some of the other shows Animal Planet has aired. You make it clear it wasn’t as bad as those.

    • Roger Wlcox Says:

      Fair enough, and thank you. You’ve made it very clear you’re not just a mindless hater, and I both appreciate and respect that, and I also apologize for coming back at you so rudely.
      You have every right to your opinion, I simply felt that this show was unfairly maligned just because of Animal Planet’s past (and present?) obsession with big foot, yeti and sea monster nonsense. Fear Island was the best special during Monster Week, by far. Though, to be blunt, it was the only real wildlife show in the entire week, and I found the rest of the special features to be very disappointing on many levels – almost wholly reliant on mythology, lame re-enactments, CGI monsters, and empty hype. But, by way of contrast, when you look at the faces of the field team at the end of Fear Island and you can really see how cold, exhausted and terrified they have been the past few weeks. The fatigue and genuine emotion are obvious – The authenticity really is there, and so are the results.
      My favorite line from Fear Island was when they found the fossil foot print, and Bradley is explaining his hypothesis regarding the genetic make-up of Grandfather, and he says something like “… but unless we find actual proof, unless we secure video footage and irrefutable DNA evidence, I’m no better than those big foot nutters.”
      In my view, while it is obviously natural history as entertainment, Fear Island is the kind of bold and meaningful wildlife expedition show Animal Planet should be making more of, and they can only improve these productions by dialing back on the Hollywood drama and glitz and instead feature the actual data being collected, and the methodology of the field team, plus publish the lab results … etc.
      Anyway, I’ve taken up enough of your time, For all our superficial differences, you and I clearly care a great deal about natural history, and I so am very grateful for your passion, and I wish you all the best.

  11. CallMeChaz Says:

    Good to see passionate feelings expressed as logical facts. Not often do I see minds changed on the Internet. Nice to see nature draw those like us together. Despite some tongue-in-cheek, it is a worthy documentary. I live amongst black bears in the remote Northwoods of Maine and love to photograph them. Because there are so many, we hunt the crap out of them and they never get very large. 350 lbs would be a large specimen to stumble across, though there are bigger ones about. As much as I am at peace with the local bruins, the tension I see on the team’s face when bears are close in is familiar. If you can see or hear them, you can’t let your guard down–you just never know. My hackles go up when it happens in deep woods. They can appear and disappear in three paces, like ghosts. I could never get comfortable around beasts of the stature in the show. Props to them for sticking it out.

  12. kelly rutherford Says:

    look up where the largest bear ever, its near juneau alaska on a island less than 100 miles away from filming of show. the ABCS do have the largest number of bears and size why food why more food than kodiak and when they run out of food they will swim to a different island, i have seen them swimming in chatham straits before,

  13. markgelbart Says:

    https://markgelbart.wordpress.com/2018/11/05/abc-bears/

  14. ABC Bears | GeorgiaBeforePeople Says:

    […] ago, Discovery Channel aired a program about the ABC bears that I lambasted in this blog article https://markgelbart.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/the-fear-island-special-that-aired-on-animal-planet-las… .  Previously, Discovery Channel has aired programs about Bigfoot, mermaids, and the extant […]

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