I’m a sucker for nature documentaries, and CBC’s The Nature of Things broadcasts some of the best. Returning Thursday for Season 55 is “Moose: A Year in the Life of a Twig Eater” and it’s terrific stuff.
Directed and produced by Susan Fleming—whose previous “Meet the Coywolf,” “Raccoon Nation” and “A Murder of Crows” have all aired on TNOT—”Moose” is the result of over a year of naturalist Hugo Kitching recording a mother moose and her calf in Jasper National Park.
The reclusive beasts seek out hard-to-get-to locations to give birth so that predators don’t attack, and the show’s story begins in June, when, after a 21-day search, Kitching locates a cow and her calf. The little one is cute as heck, ungainly and all spindly legs and oversized ears. But with moose numbers plummeting because babies aren’t surviving their first year the youngster has a touch road ahead of it. Highlighted by stunning views of Jasper National Park, its peaks and valleys “Moose” tracks the pair—and a second cow and baby—through spring and summer when food in plentiful. Of particular importance is the ingestion of sodium-rich pond plants that moose store to help them survive during lean times.
Those lean periods arrive in the winter, when five feet of snow means no greenery to eat … and tough going for both animal and man. (How Kitching filmed the project could be a documentary on its own.) This being a nature documentary, the life cycle of the moose is recorded regardless of whether the news is good or bad. Not every animal survives such a harsh climate and, sadly, the moose are no exception.
Regardless, “Moose: A Year in the Life of a Twig Eater” is an entertaining peek into the life of an elusive mammal few get a chance to see, and is well worth tuning in to.
Check out more moose facts on TNOT website.
The Nature of Things airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.