NEW Discovery show to pit  'Man versus bear'. Grizzlies, humans will compete in strength, speed and stamina.

LOS ANGELES : Grizzly bear and humans will compete in tests of ''strength, speed and stamina'' on  an new television show, the Discovery/Channel announced on Thursday.

Human contestants will will attempt ''challenges inspired by what bears do naturally in the wild,'' including rolling giant logs, tree-climbing, eating competitions and ''monumental game of tug of war,'' the channel said.

The new series comes two years after a  Discovery Channel special saw Olympic swimming legend  Michael Phelps swimming solo, shown alongside a computer-generated  image of a shark.

This time, competitors on  Man versus Bear will come  face-to-face with bears in the final challenge, titled  ''Human prey''.

However, the humans will be encased within a giant steel ball, which the bear will attempt to roll into a crater while the challengers try to hold their ground.

Staged fights between bears and humans, including wrestling and boxing, were popular in Victorian times but largely disappeared in the 20th century over concerns about animal cruelty.

But programme makers said the animals on  Man versus Bear  are never  forced to compete and are  ''rewarded handsomely with their favorite treats before, during and after every event.''

The competitions are ''designed wound the exercise routines they regularly follow - a combination of  encouraging natural Grizzly instincts and actions,'' it said.

The programme is filmed at the bears' Utah wildlife sanctuary, in the presence of animal animal welfare consultants.

According to its website, the center has provided animal stars for television shows and films including  Game of Thrones and Dr. Dolittle 2.

Two of the bears featured on the show were rescued by a park ranger after being orphaned by an Alaskan poacher, while the third was born into captivity.

MAN versus BEAR  premiers on Dec 4. [AFP]


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