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Small animals deserve starring roles too!

CBC Docs CBC Docs

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Published 1 year ago

To capture the natural behaviour of some of the smaller animals featured in The Wild Canadian Year — like the short-tailed weasel and the star-nosed mole — the team had to film in recreated environments or sets. #TheNatureOfThings #WildCanadianYear

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With the help of scientists, the team recreated the exact habitat of these small wild creatures in controlled environments. The sets had to be to be realistic and natural so that the animals in them would feel completely at home and behave as they would in the wild.

Scientists caught, fed and cared for these guest stars over the few days that it took to film them — after which, they were released back into the wild.

“We filmed these small animals on set because it would have been impossible to see the animal’s behaviour any other way. For animals like the star-nosed mole, that lives entirely underground, we could never have filmed a cross-section of its burrow without damaging its home and stressing it. By filming in a set, we can avoid stress to the animal and leave its habitat undisturbed,” says director Jeff Turner.

By recreating an animals’ natural habitat, a habitat that would normally be hidden from view, the audience gains a new level of understanding and appreciation of their tiny world.

“I think this is important, because if we only ever film large terrestrial animals like bears and wolves, we are missing out on a whole other world — the world of small animals and aquatic animals. And their stories are equally fascinating.”

Turner hopes that by understanding these tiny creatures lives better, maybe we’ll be motivated to protect their habitat so they have space to live in the wild too.

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