Importance of Natural Resources

Canadian Moose Documentary | Unfolding The Intimate Story Of the Moose Family | English Subtitles


My goal is to follow and film a
mother moose and her newborn calf over the next year. It’s going to be really interesting
to see how it grows, how it learns from its mother,
how it avoids danger. Those mums could kill me
whenever they wanted to. They can kill wolves
with their hooves so they could definitely
kill me on my snowshoes! This is going to be a challenging
12 months, but I’m really excited to see how this animal survives its
first year in the Canadian Rockies. I need to find a mother moose
with a calf. It’s so rare to see newborn calves. Before she gives birth, an expectant
mother heads to the most isolated and uninviting parts of the forest. I can’t say that I blame her. Some of North America’s
largest predators live here so mothers need to be elusive and
super protective of their young. Finding any moose –
let alone one with a newborn – in this terrain
is a daunting challenge. But after 21 days, I got lucky. I can’t believe I found her. This calf is only a few days old. She’s pretty sweet. I think it’s a “she”. That mum definitely knows I’m here, but she seems OK with me
hanging around. That can change
at any moment though, so I’m going to have to be careful
and keep my distance. If I push it or get too close,
the mother will turn on me. I hope she’s going to let me
stick with them. Moose populations are declining
across North America at an alarming rate. One reason is that calves just
aren’t surviving their first year, so it’s never been more important
to learn what happens in that first year. The only way to know
is to follow a calf every day for the next 12 months. No-one has really done this before so I feel really lucky
to have this chance. And a little nervous, too. They move so quietly
through the woods. They blend in so well, even though
the mother’s a thousand pounds. The calf – it’s just born and it’s
already faster than me in the bush. I mean, it’s amazing. The rest of the camera team
is only here for a few more days. They’ll come and go throughout
the year but my job is to stay here and to really get to know
these moose. This is only going to work
if this mother and calf decide to let me
into their world. And their world is a wilderness
that covers over 11,000 square kilometres. Jasper National Park – the largest park
in the Canadian Rockies. Hugo’s got a unique challenge
and he’s uniquely prepared for it. He doesn’t seem to require a coat. He’s able to get up
way before the sun gets up, stays up way after it goes down,
so he puts in really long days tracking animals. He’ll sit watching moose
for hours and hours and hours and it’s awe-inspiring. Maligne Valley is in the centre
of Jasper National Park. It’s surrounded by mountains
and beautiful alpine. It’s a lifeline of energy
and water and wildlife. And the habitats for moose
are focused predominantly along the bottom, where the drainages are
and there’s lakes and meadows and damp areas for willows
and shrubbery to grow. The moose population fluctuates depending on the presence
of predators. When we’ve done counts here,
we’ve seen 19 moose at its high and around ten
at its lower population. To distinguish between the moose
in the valley, it’s easy, because the bells on their neck
are either longer or shorter, they have scars, or they’re with
different size calves. It’s pretty magical being
this close to this huge moose and her baby calf. I’ve only been with them
for a couple of days now and what I’m noticing is that
this moose is a really good mother. For a moose calf to survive
its first year, it needs a little bit of luck
and a really good mum. More moose calves are killed by
bears than by any other predator so learning to recognise a bear
is a really big lesson. This little calf has been born into
a world that’s teeming with life, from emerald lakes
right up to the treetops. And everywhere I look I see parents
tending their young. SHEEP BLEATS This calf and this cow
are easily identifiable. The mother has a really distinct
scar on her shoulder. I’m really curious to know
what did it. This calf is timid and super cute and she seems to be learning
all the time. These young moose can put on
two to four pounds a day every day right up until winter. She’s around two weeks old now and she’s just starting to learn
how to eat plants. I can really see how the mum
shows her what to eat. The mum is passing her bacteria
on to the calf through the saliva she left
on those leaves. When the calf eats the leaves
she ingests the bacteria, which is going to grow in her gut
and allow the calf to digest plants. This mum is really aware and she doesn’t let the calf
get very far from her. I think that mother
is really concerned about keeping that calf safe. RUMBLE OF THUNDER LOUD CRASH OF THUNDER Part of the challenge of being
out here every day is dealing with
the different weather and I am really cold right now
but I’ve got to keep going, I’ve got to keep the gear dry
and stay with them because they’re out here every day and they don’t mind
this cold weather. Lately, they seem a lot more relaxed
with me being here and I think they are slowly
getting used to me, which is great. For three weeks, I’ve been able
to find our cow and calf
almost every day. But over the past couple of days,
things have changed. I’ve been bushwhacking,
looking and looking, and after a lot of time searching,
I found the mother. But I can’t see any sign of
the calf. For the past few weeks, that mum
and calf have always been together. So, it’s very strange to suddenly
find the mother and see no sign of the calf. About half of these calves are
killed in their first month of life. So, I’m getting really nervous
something’s happened. You know, those females have a lot
of things that are hunting them and hunting their young. So, it’s not easy
being mother moose. There’s wolves… ..there’s black bears,
there’s grizzly bears here. All those animals
prey on baby moose. PANTING So, this looks like this was done
by a grizzly bear. You can see there’s claw marks that
are taller than me and these huge… I mean, imagine the power
that cut through this bark. I mean,
that’s got to be almost three feet. You can see it’s raked
its claws into the bark. It’s sort of a scent
territory marking. I see black bears doing
similar things to trees a lot, but the marks are nowhere
near as long. At this point, I really don’t know
what to do about our missing calf. I mean, live in hope, I guess. So, I’m going to keep looking. It’s been over two weeks
since the last time we saw our calf and there is not a sign of her. We have looked everywhere,
and nothing. Park warden, all of our contacts,
everyone thinks she’s gone. The only meaningful relationship
a cow is going to have in her life is the relationship with her calf. It’s the only other animal
in this entire park she is going to let
get close to her. So, this is going to be
really tough on her. HOWLING CHIRPING I am so excited. We just got a call
saying that a cow and calf were spotted right
where we’ve been filming. The cow apparently has a huge scar
on her shoulder,
so it’s got to be ours. So, I’m just going to pack up this
and then head right over there. Gosh, I hope it’s them! HOOTING BIRDSONG Hey, girl. Where have you been? It just goes from days of nothing,
and then, it’s magical. I can’t believe it. This calf must have been with
her mum the whole time. I bet she was bedded down
just off in the distance. These calves can disappear
into their surroundings so well. It’s a survival strategy.
And, man, is it effective! BIRDSONG BUZZING She’s been waiting a long time
to feed on these water plants. It takes months for these mountain
lakes to warm up enough to provide the mineral-rich plants
she craves, but can’t get on land. Some of these water plants have 500
times more sodium than land plants. And a moose needs sodium for
every part of their development. From growing hair to reproducing. And they’ll go to great lengths
to get it. They’ll dive up to 18 feet
to get their teeth on this stuff. There’s so much our calf needs
to learn to be a moose. And the only one who can teach
her is her mum. This is a tricky lesson. She’s got to learn it’s safe
to go in the water and to swim for the first time. And then, because all
the really good water plants are at the bottom,
she’s got to learn how to dive. This could take her weeks,
even a month, to learn. CHIRPING Not the most graceful thing
I’ve seen. But moose are such strong swimmers.
She’ll get it soon enough. BUZZING She’s got the hang of it
just in time. These guys really need to feast on this sodium-rich pondweed
while they can. Moose can store minerals
in their body so efficiently that they only need to load up
on essential elements like sodium once or twice a year. These aquatic plants will die out
in about a month. Not all the lakes here produce them, so this one is a magnet
for all the moose in the area. Moose normally keep to
their own territory. Up until now, our cow and calf
have had this lake to themselves. But now they’ve got company. Oh, man, their ears are back. That means our mother moose and this new cow want nothing
to do with each other. Oh, my gosh, is that another calf? It looks so tiny
compared to our calf. He can’t be more than
three or four weeks old. This little guy is going to have
to do a lot of growing up
before winter comes. I wonder how the little calf’s life
is going to be different
to the big calf’s? It’s late August
and this is only the second calf I’ve seen in the entire park. This is so cool! There really are personality
differences between the calves. The little calf is kind of…
He’s a little cheeky, he’s more curious
and he’s more bold. And he’ll wander off a lot. I really want to try to follow
this little calf and our original big calf. I love the chestnut colour
of the mum. She’s gorgeous! They’re both so relaxed around me. This is going to be great! Now that it’s fall,
I have to be really careful. The bull moose, who’ve been up
in the mountains for the past
couple of months, are coming down
for the mating season. This is the only time of year
the bull moose gather together. They are spending a lot of time
sizing each other up. I don’t blame them.
These guys can weigh 1,200 pounds and reach over two metres
at the shoulder. They are very powerful animals and at this time of year,
they’re unpredictable. Things have gotten so much more
intense in the past little while. It’s safer just to take in all
the action from out here. The cows are only just starting
to come into heat and the bulls
seem to be getting impatient. They’re charging through the forest,
calling out, thrashing little trees,
trying to find a mate. There’s so much going on
in the woods right now that it’s really hard to track
our two calves. MOOSE CALLS (Wow!) The bulls are going to hang around
for a few weeks, but you know what? The cows are only
fertile for one day a month. And they want to stay away
from those bulls until that day. Because some of these bulls
can be really aggressive. When she’s ready to pick a mate, she’ll check out the size of
the bull’s antlers. Moose antlers are
the fastest-growing bone mass
on the planet. At the peak of summer,
they can grow an inch a day. I wouldn’t be surprised
if the bulls can hear them growing. By fall, they can weigh in
at 40-50lbs. But before a cow can be impressed by
his rack, a bull has to lure her in. The rest of the crew say I’m weird,
but I actually like the smell of the oil that the bulls
rub on the trees. It’s earthy, musky,
maybe a little sweet. And it comes from special glands
just above their eyes. Each bull leaves his scent
behind on the trees he thrashes. And that smell says a lot
about his mood, his status, even his sexual power. It’s a subtle smell, but obviously, it’s working
on our little calf’s mum. MOOSE CALLS This little calf is fearless. He’s learned so much mimicking
his mother the last few months. And now he’s copying a bull. I hope he keeps his distance. This is risky.
That bull could kill him. If he tried to mount the little
calf, he’d break his back. And one angry swipe with those
antlers would do serious damage. MOOSE CALLS In the end, it’s the cow
who decides who her mate will be. BIRDSONG Having been here for so long,
doing this day after day, I spend more time with these guys
than anyone else. It’s going to be tougher to keep up
with them when winter comes, though. I hear snow can get as deep as
five feet here. I’ll have to deal
with extra clothes, snowshoes, and then there’s all the food
I’m going to have to carry. The amount of energy you need
snowshoeing with all the gear, I’m going to be just eating bacon
like candy out here. Anything with calories. And the moose have it worse. Now that winter’s hit,
there’s very little for them to eat. These guys are going to find every
last bit of green forage they can. But soon, all this nutrient-rich
stuff will be gone and they’ll be left with a diet
of prickly evergreens, even twigs. Whatever they can
get their teeth on. Even after eating for hours
and hours on end, they’re going to lose weight
every day for the next five months. This is going to be tough
for our big calf. But it’s going to be even tougher
for our little calf. He’s had so little time
to build up any fat reserves. HOWLING HOWLING In this winter landscape,
all a mother can do is to show her calf how to find
everything possible to eat. Our little calf is
catching on pretty quick. Hey, little guy. Wow! Huh! So, these moose are really attracted
to the salt on my car. The road salt contains potassium,
calcium, even magnesium. That’s why the mothers love
it so much. It’s like my car is a popsicle. When they’re not licking my car, it’s actually really hard to find
our moose in this massive park. Each mother and calf roam
a territory of about
five square kilometres. At their closest,
they’re about 10km apart. So, I have a lot of ground
to cover to keep track of them. You’d think following their tracks
in the snow would be really easy. But it is really hard. You find a fresh track
and you just start following it. You would not believe how often
they crisscross each other. So, when you think
you’re getting close, you actually find out that
you’re still hours behind the moose. The other big thing is
the snowshoes make so much noise and with all your gear, you know,
I have 50-60lbs of stuff with me. A big tripod over my shoulder. I mean, they hear me coming
from a mile away. The funny thing is, if you’re walking through the bush
following their tracks and you can actually make
eye contact with them, I find if I talk to them gently
and sort of let them know it’s me – it’s not a wolf –
they immediately relax. Winter is such an endurance test
for moose. The longer it goes on, the closer
they come to starving to death, and this does happen. For our little calf who was born
so late in the season, this is going to be a real struggle. Our little calf
is such a fighter, though. No matter how tough it is for him,
he just never gives up. He just needs to get through five, maybe six more weeks of this snow
and he’s home free. The snow is so deep,
despite their long legs, you know, the snow is still draining
her energy. So, it really seems like every step
they take in this snow is calculated to expend the least
bit of energy that they can. Everything that they do
is really planned. Like, look at that. The cow has just planted,
she’s straining her neck, stretching her neck,
eating everything in sight. And then, when she’s cleaned up
everything she can reach, takes a step. Another step. And there we go again. It is just amazing
they find enough food to eat here. They really are twig-eaters. It’s incredible to think that they
can eat 8,000-9,000 twigs a day. You’ve got that greening of spring and, er…the green veg
that’s going to come out. I haven’t seen our little calf
and his mum for two days now. I decided to leave them alone because they were so high up
the mountain. I don’t know what’s driving them up but I’ve stayed away
in case it was me. I can’t go too long without
checking on them, though. So, today,
it’s going to be a climbing day. HE PANTS Oh, my gosh. Look at those tracks. That’s crazy. Wow! I think I’m on the trails of
wolves… ..judging by the tracks. And they’re going exactly
the same way I’m going. I’m about 500 metres from the last
known location of the calf. OK, looks like there might
be at least two here. I’m kind of nervous. Just because our little calf in
this snow, I mean… I don’t know… I think a wolf would…or a pack
of wolves would have no problem. I mean, the mum has… If the mum protected it,
that would be its only hope. This is such a weird feeling. I’m kind of half expecting to see maybe our moose
killed any second now. Or, I don’t know what I’m… I mean, you know,
these tracks could… This could be
the first part of a hunt. If they did kill the moose,
it could be kilometres away. But wow –
there’s a lot of wolf tracks. I’m hearing ravens over there. It could mean it’s a kill. We’re really close to where
our cow and calf were. Now that being said,
they were still 500 metres away last time I saw them, which isn’t
that far, except it was vertical. Almost vertical, up the hill! Man! I’ve just got to wonder
if this is our calf. OK, I’m going to keep searching. Oh, no. Uh-oh. Uh-oh. That is moose hair. Ooh! This isn’t good. This isn’t good at all. HE SIGHS Man! Well, I think the only thing to do is to keep following these
wolf tracks and see what happens. Ooh! This is a brutal climb. Her tracks are right there. It’s definitely the mother. And I just saw a calf track
back there. Ah! Oh! Come on, guys. Please have got uphill. Oh, man… Ah! Look at all these broken branches. There’s been an epic chase
or battle here. Broken branches everywhere. Hair, clumps of hair, tracks. The wolf tracks converge here. Oh, my God. Look at that… Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh! Oh, man. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh. Oh, poor calf. BIRD CAWS This is just unbelievable. HE SIGHS You can’t help
but get attached to these animals. I’ve spent so many hours –
hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours with this moose and now,
to just know it died this way… And it was so close to making it
through the winter. I mean, a few more weeks now and it could have been in the clear. I just hope our cow is doing OK. It looks like she ran off that way. BIRD SQUAWKS BIRDS TWEET Despite the hard winter, I’m glad
to say our first calf has survived. She’s a yearling now and she’s big. She was only about 40lbs
when I met her and now she must weigh
well over 400lbs. Considering that only around 30%
of moose calves survive their first year, it’s a real triumph for our big calf
that she’s made it to spring. She’s past the tough stuff now. Food is no longer scarce and she’s had the protection
and guidance of her mother for a whole year. But things are about to change. Her mum is pregnant,
but before she gives birth, she will turn on her calf
and drive her out. GROANING She’ll chase off her yearling
in order to ensure the best possible chance
for her newborn. She’ll keep shunning and shunning
her until the message is clear – you are not welcome here any more. GROANING I guess it’s tough love. The mother’s focus has turned to
nurturing the next generation. WHIMPERING Now our yearling has to head
out into the world and make it on her own. Despite everything her mother
has taught her, she still has so much left
to learn. I heard that a chestnut-coloured
moose was seen on a small island,
five miles up Maligne Lake. It’s got to be
our little calf’s mum. I’d never seen another moose that
colour in the park. Hi, little guy. She has survived so much. She must be completely exhausted. And, yet, here she is again,
using all her strength to mother another little calf. And at a time when moose
populations are in such decline, each calf is precious. Our feisty little calf showed me
just how hard life could be for a moose
born late in the season. This new calf was born
two months before his brother was last year, which gives him
a huge advantage for surviving that critical first year. I’ve been so lucky to experience,
first-hand, the strong bond that develops
between a calf and its mother. She is such a remarkable animal. I feel better about leaving here
now that I know she’s had a chance to be a mother again. HOWLING


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