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The Cana­dian Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion has re­leased a new set of three videos star­ring the Pa­cific salmon in the mem­o­rable style of Hinterland Who’s Who.

The pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ments are timed to pro­mote aware­ness of a re­search project de­signed to ex­plain the per­sis­tently poor re­turns of Chi­nook salmon in the Yukon River.

“We wanted to fo­cus on species that are both iconic and im­por­tant in Canada’s his­tory and Pa­cific salmon is one of those,” said An­nie Lan­glois, the HWW pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor. “The salmon PSAs are be­ing dis­trib­uted to tele­vi­sion sta­tions as we speak.”

A 30-sec­ond ver­sion uses the same mini-doc style and haunt­ing flute mu­sic that be­came in­deli­bly stamped on the mem­o­ries of Cana­dian chil­dren when the se­ries was first aired in 1963. Other ver­sions em­ploy a mod­ern­ized style with dif­fer­ent mu­sic and a young fe­male host.

The clas­sic ver­sions of Hinterland Who’s Who aired right through the 80s and 90s, when pro­duc­tion of new spots was on a two-decade hia­tus.

“When I was a kid I wrote to the Cana­dian Wildlife Ser­vice in Ot­tawa for the fact sheets just like it says in the PSAs,” said Lan­glois, who was in­spired to be­come a bi­ol­o­gist. “I still have all the pam­phlets.”

“It’s be­cause of pro­grams like Hinterland Who’s Who that I’m do­ing what I’m do­ing,” she said.

When HWW was re­vived in 2003, the mod­ern­ized spots did not use the dis­tinc­tive flute mu­sic, at least for a while.

“The videos aimed chil­dren use a mod­ern take and mod­ern mu­sic to liven things up a bit,” she said. “But be­cause of pub­lic pres­sure we brought the flute mu­sic back.”

A set of HWW spots fea­tur­ing the At­lantic cod, the Right whale, the beaver, the Amer­i­can bi­son and the Snowy owl will be re­leased this year as part of the Canada 150 cel­e­bra­tion of con­fed­er­a­tion. The PSAs are aired for free by Cana­dian tele­vi­sion sta­tions for the fed­er­a­tion, which is a char­ity.

Three- to five-minute ver­sions of the new videos are avail­able on the Hinterland Who’s Who web­site,

In ad­di­tion to in­spir­ing bud­ding young sci­en­tists, Hinterland Who’s Who has carved out a niche in the na­tional psy­che. SCTV and Dou­ble Ex­po­sure have spoofed the PSAs and a YouTube video of murky prove­nance fea­tures a wood spi­der be­ing dosed with psy­che­delic drugs.

“I cer­tainly grew up watch­ing them,” said CWF con­ser­va­tion bi­ol­o­gist Nick LaPointe. “They were al­ways on in be­tween all the kid shows I would watch.”

LaPointe is run­ning a re­search project that aims to ex­plain why the Chi­nook salmon has not re­cov­ered to his­tor­i­cal abun­dance in the Yukon River.

His­toric re­ports sug­gest that up to 10,000 salmon were har­vested each year up­stream from White­horse, but to­day only 1,200 pass the dam in that lo­ca­tion. Re­searchers will trace the progress of tagged salmon the length of the river with acous­tic re­ceivers.

“There are peo­ple who think the dam and the fish lad­der are re­spon­si­ble, but we don’t know that for sure,” he said. rshore@post­


The Cana­dian Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion has re­leased a new set of three videos star­ring the Pa­cific salmon in the mem­o­rable style of Hinterland Who’s Who.

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