Episode available within Canada only.

Meet species that exemplify all the realms of aging: longevity, reproductive health, social status, wisdom, and finally, everything that surrounds the final chapter of life, death. Aging in the Wild takes us from the African savannah to the French Alps — and beyond — guided by passionate researchers who reveal their latest discoveries. This perfect balance of observing wild behaviour and learning about cutting-edge science allows us to consider the elders of the animal kingdom in a whole new light.

The visible signs of old age and fragility, what scientists call senescence, do not always present themselves in the same way. Why? The further we explore this phenomenon, the more we realize its complexity. 

Are the keys to healthy aging hiding in the DNA of animals? Perhaps — lifespan is closely linked to the speed of an animal's metabolism. 

Our journey is not limited to exploring the lives of the elders; what we see are the processes by which animals reach old age. The life cycle of a bee that only lives thirty days is as important to explore as an elephant that lives 70 years. Aging the Wild looks at the realities of life in the wild from the animal’s perspective, immersing us in their world.

We explore the physiological secrets linked to life expectancy, longevity, and senescence in various animal species. Can we distinguish between the effects of the environment and the built-in adaptations that contribute to a long life? What are some of the benefits associated with getting older in the natural world?

Reproduction concerns not only the young and restless — Aging in the Wild takes a light-hearted look at the issue of sexuality and camaraderie in older animals. We illustrate the link between the age of an elephant and its reproductive success. What are the reproductive benefits that these animals achieve as they grow older? Through their stories, we learn about the advantages and disadvantages of late-life reproduction.

FROM THE FILM: Meet J2, the oldest known orca in the world known as 'Granny.'

Observing two massive bull elephants clashing their tusks is to witness a true demonstration of power. For other species, like the European marmot, remaining in power is a matter of collaborating with family and community. Are these animals forced to give up their hard-won social status as they age? Through this lens, we look at the challenges faced by those in power, and what it takes to stay there.

MORE:
Five aging tips from the wild
The world's oldest creatures live in cold, dark places
Meet some of the oldest living organisms on Earth

In many human societies, elders play a vital role in the well-being of communities and are responsible for passing down knowledge and culture. Is it any wonder to find that another one of the oldest mammals on Earth, orcas, have been found to transmit cultural knowledge to the younger generations? Young animals learn by observing their elders — judging when to fight or take flight, deciding how to choose a life partner, and learning where to find food are just some of the skills passed down through generations as elders share their wisdom.

We explore the factors that lead animals to their death: disease, injury, predation, drought, famine, and even breeding. What lessons can we learn from the animal kingdom as we follow individuals along their fascinating life path as they journey to their last breath?

 

Credits (Click to expand)

THE SECRETS OF AGING IN THE WILD

Producer and Director

Ari A. Cohen

Editors

Lessandro Socrates

Abraham Lifshitz

Alain Belhumeur

Alain Després

Writers

Lesley Evans Ogden

Ari A. Cohen

Sophie Tessier

Script Editing

Niki Wilson

Claude D’Astous

Anne Dagg

__________________________________________________

Cinematographers

Dany Lavoie

Matthew Hood

Warren Samuels

Samuel Ellis

Alex Jones

Jason Ching

Tony Chapuis

Marc Ollivier

Ari A. Cohen

Sound Recordists

Vincent Brunier

Eric Richardson

Original Music

Osama Shalabi

Musicians

Pemi Paull

Philippe Lauzier

Jean-Christophe Lizotte

Sarah Pagé

Jonah Fortune

Dina Cindric

Pierre-Guy Blanchard

David Gossage

Pietro Amato

Post Production Supervisor

Abraham Lifshitz

Colourist

Natalia Solis

Bashar Samman

Graphic Design and Visual Effects

Dovi Kotto

Production Coordinators

Diana Goudrouffe

Matthew Muncaster

Leah Williams-Zannis

Script Supervisors

Matthew Muncaster

Leah Williams-Zannis

Production Accountant

Anuj Khosla

Auditors

Mallette S.E.N.C.R.L.

Lawyer

Nancy Cleman

Insurance

Globalex

Research

Kathryn Lande

Sophie Tessier

Diamond Yao

Christine Alevizakis

Archives

Marco Schulenburg

Amboseli Trust for Elephants

Loke Film

Ken Balcomb

Beth Archie

Stock media provided by: www.videoblocks.com www.pond5.com

With Thanks to:

Julie L. Cusmariu

Jude & Samson

Aaron Ain & Trudy Cusmariu

Jacques, Leontine & Ygal Cohen

Isa Tousignant& Howard Chackowicz

Mario Benassi

Arizona State University

Dedert Botanical Garden

Duke University

Claude-Bernard-Lyon-1 University

Center for Whale Research

Amboseli Trust for Elephants

Amboseli Baboon Research Project

National Evolutionary Synthesis Centre

Projet de la Marmotte Alpine

La Réserve de la Grande Sassière

University of Alaska Salmon Program

For the CBC:

General Manager, Programming

Sally Catto

Senior Director, Documentary

Sandra Kleinfeld

Executive in Charge of Production

Sue Dando

Executive Director, Unscripted Content

Jennifer Dettman

Director of Production, Unscripted Content

Alexandra Lane

Director of Finance, Unscripted Content

Julie Lawlor

The Nature of Things with David Suzuki

Produced by:

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

cbc.ca/natureofthings

Produced in association with:

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

2017 Rotating Planet Productions Inc.

All Rights Reserved

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