Animals, both wild and domestic, are endlessly fascinating. They amuse us, educate us, and often tug at our heart strings. No matter whether you like dogs, cats, horses, wolves, or whales, there’s an animal documentary just waiting for you.
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Films in This Playlist Include
Canaries to Clydesdales
Caribou of Norther Canada
Cry of the Wild
Return of the Swift Fox
The Great Buffalo Saga
In Search of the Bowhead Whale
Horses of Suffield
Where the Bay Becomes the Sea
This documentary follows two country veterinarians through their daily rounds, from sterile clinic to farm paddock. Thirty thousand miles of house calls a year is routine for doctors Vic Demetrick and Reg Maidment, whose patients include just about any creature that hops, trots, swims or flies.
This nature documentary looks at the Barren Ground caribou of Canada's vast northern tundra. This film observes the life cycle and environment of the caribou.
This feature-length documentary from Bill Mason imparts his affection for the big northern timber wolves and the pure-white Arctic wolves. Filmed over three years in the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, the High Arctic and his home near the Gatineau Hills in Quebec, Mason sets out to dispel the myth of the bloodthirsty wolf. Going beyond the wolf's natural habitat, Mason relocated three young wolves to his own property and was able to film tribal customs, mating and birth. As a result, Cry of the Wild offers viewers access to moments in wildlife never before seen on film.
The swift fox is one of the many lost species that has suffered from the cultivation of the prairie grasslands. An innovative program has been implemented to reintroduce the swift fox into its original habitat in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Documenting the history and human misuse of this fragile ecosystem, this short film illustrates the precious balance between human and wildlife use of the environment.
In this feature-length documentary, husband and wife team Karsten Heuer (wildlife biologist) and Leanne Allison (environmentalist) follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot across 1500 km of Arctic tundra. In following the herd's migration, the couple hopes to raise awareness of the threats to the caribou's survival. Along the way they brave Arctic weather, icy rivers, hordes of mosquitoes and a very hungry grizzly bear. Dramatic footage and video diaries combine to provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.
By the late 1800s the free-ranging buffalo of the western plains of North America were almost extinct. This documentary is the story of the buffalo's revival. Live action, eye-witness accounts and archival photos document our fascination with this ancient and legendary animal. By the director of Atonement.
This adventure film features Scott McVay, an authority on whales, and filmmaker Bill Mason. The objective was to film the bowhead, a magnificent inhabitant of the cold Arctic seas brought to the edge of extinction by overfishing. With helicopter and Inuit guide, aqualungs and underwater cameras, the expedition searches out and meets the bowhead and beluga.
Please note that this is an archival film that makes use of the word “Eskimo,” an outdated and offensive term. While the origin of the word is a matter of some contention, it is no longer used in Canada. The term was formally rejected by the Inuit Circumpolar Council in 1980 and has subsequently not been in use at the NFB for decades. This film is therefore a time-capsule of a bygone era, presented in its original version. The NFB apologizes for the offence caused.
This short documentary focuses on a man-made island that became the first federal sanctuary for wildlife in Canada. Situated an hour east of Edmonton, it houses one of the world's densest collections of wildlife, maintained by Parks Canada. Elk Island offers a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes activity of the island.
This documentary explores the fate of the endangered wild Suffield horses of Alberta. Located near a military base close to Medicine Hat, these animals were originally domesticated but returned to the wild over generations. These horses face endangerment because of their growing numbers and the limitations of their environment.
This is a documentary about the fragile and complex marine ecosystem in the Bay of Fundy. The film traces relationships within the food chain - from tiny plankton to birds and seals and finally to whales and humans. The film is a plea for careful management of our ocean resource and was first telecast as part of CBC's Nature of Things series.