Two of four iconic mini-documentaries on Canada's wildlife once feared lost have been recovered from the CBC Archives — the loon and the beaver.

The Canadian Wildlife Service created the "Hinterland Who's Who" series, which had its television premiere 50 years ago.

The distinctive soundtrack of the Flute Poem opens each black-and-white vignette, followed by the narration by professor and author John Livingston to educate Canadians about the country's diverse wildlife.

The National Film Board produced the public service announcements, but neither organization had copies of the original set.

By chance, the footage had been saved by a former CBC employee, who donated the film cans to the archives.

That made it easy for CBC archivist Colin Preston to dig them up when the CBC was asked to search for them.

"I just had to trot downstairs, pull the can out, look on the screen and there was the loon," said Preston, who subsequently unearthed the beaver footage from the archives..

The search continues for the moose and gannet, along with the original French-language set.

With files from the CBC's Alexandra Gibb and Sadiya Ansari