Grizzlies, bighorn sheep, capelin and humpback whales are only a few of the captivating creatures featured in an upcoming four-part CBC documentary series starting this week.
Wild Canada debuts on March 13, appearing on The Nature of Things, with David Suzuki narrating the series. It focuses on bringing history, wildlife and environmental issues together while showcasing some of Canada’s beautiful and remote landscapes.
“A lot of our landscape is still, in a sense, uninhabited or untouched by humans,” says Jeff Turner, the series’ producer, writer and director of photography. “As a consequence, it means that we have a lot of wild spaces.”
With an educational outlook to the series, Wild Canada goes back 15,000 years to explain the conditions and changes that have brought Canada to where it is now.
“We wanted to tell the story about how humans shaped the landscapes we see in Canada today,” Turner says. “We tend to look at landscapes and think ‘That’s the way they’ve always been.’ But when you look back through historical records, there’s a lot of research on how the first people who lived in North America started to shape and influence the landscapes.”
Turner adds that Canada is currently undergoing one of the biggest landscape alterations in its history.
“Global warming is melting the Arctic and changing it on a massive scale,” he says. “It’s a different sort of alteration than what’s happened in the past because it’s unintentional and not done to benefit the landscape. It’s actually going to degrade the landscape.”
The series will also show some of Canada's elusive animals that many haven’t seen before.
Turner says he never thought they would get a wolverine on film. “Finding and filming wolverines is rarely done. The only place they’ve ever been filmed in the world is Scandinavia and Finland.”
Turner looked to videographer Andrew Manske, who put in years trying to get close enough to capture footage of this slippery member of the weasel family.
“Any wolverine footage or imagery you see is almost always of captive animals,” Turner says. “To actually get footage of wild wolverines interacting and doing things naturally in the world is a real first.”
The series airs Thursday nights on CBC until April 3.