Elizabeth’s Wildlife Center in Abbotsford will be included on the CBC TV program The Nature of Things, hosted by David Suzuki, on Friday, Jan. 29.
The episode is part of the Wild Canadian Weather series from the filmmakers of Wild Canada and The Wild Canadian Year.
The episode that airs at 9 p.m. on Jan. 29 focuses on wind and includes a look at a young peregrine falcon family as it leaves the nest and takes to the air for the first time in Toronto and how traditional seaweed harvesters use heavy horses to gather the bounty of the sea in Prince Edward Island after a big storm.
The portion from the local wildlife centre focuses on an opossum that uses the scent carried on the wind to help him find a meal.
Elizabeth Melnick said the filmmakers spent about eight days at the centre in the spring, sometimes shooting for up to 14 hours a day.
She said they focused on a young male opossum, and used wind turbines to mimic a strong wind.
Melnick said opossums have extremely poor eyesight but their sense of smell makes up for it.
“They can smell food a mile away,” she said.
During the filming, areas of the centre’s property were fenced off and the opossum was free to roam at will. Melnick said the filmmakers were patient in waiting for the animal to move at his own pace.
She said they also did a lot of filming of her dog, a four-year-old chocolate Labrador named Ginny.
Melnick has not yet seen the finished product, so she’s not sure how much of Elizabeth’s Wildlife Center has made it into the episode.
The opossum that was filmed was part of a litter that was brought to the centre in the winter of 2019, and he has since been released back to the wild.
The wildlife centre is one of B.C.’s main wildlife rehabilitation centres, and focuses on the care and rehabilitation of small mammals and birds. It has been serving the Lower Mainland and beyond for 34 years.
Its services include providing nutrition, medication and veterinary services to small creatures such as rabbits, opossums, squirrels, hummingbirds and crows until they are able to be released back to the wild.
Visit elizabethswildlife.ca for more information.