Stories of People & Wolves…

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films (WODCW) is working in Yellowstone National Park, Wisconsin, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany to bring you stories of the advocates that are working to preserve the legacy of wild Gray wolves.

Click the menus on this website to learn about The Yellowstone Story, The Wisconsin Story and the Italian Story.

About Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films

WODCW is a Film Company producing film projects that inspire change through environmental education and legislation. Gray wolves are recovering on a worldwide landscape, our films, involve a global audience. We connect and engage viewers with filmmakers dedicated to documenting the conscious relationships between advocates and Gray wolves. We view the need for people to meaningfully engage with its wild wolves that are now struggling for survival worldwide. To support this effort, we maintain a network of subject matter experts in film producers, scientists, academics, as well as other advocates who share a common interest to advocate, produce and share educational stories of people and Gray wolves.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival Menomonie

Wild & Scenic Film Festival coming to Menomonie, Wisconsin November 7, 2020 at the Mabel Tainter Theatre. Program starts at 07:00 PM

Tainter Menomin Lake Improvement Association (TMLIA) & Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC (WODCW) is partnering with Wild & Scenic Film Festival https://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org/on-tour/ to create a unique environmental Film Festival in our community and using the festival to raise funds, reach new contacts, and raise awareness of local issues.

Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Sponsorship opportunities are available! Contact us at the festival email address menomoniefilmfestival@gmail.com for more information on how to become a sponsor, volunteer and to learn more about the environmental film festival.

About Wild & Scenic film Festival On Tour

Wild & Scenic Film Festival takes our festival “On Tour,” partnering to produce nearly 250 events each year. Events are hosted by a diverse array of environmental nonprofits, schools, museums, and businesses, each creating unique film festivals in their own communities and using the festival to raise funds, reach new contacts, and raise awareness of local issues. Tainter Menomin Lake Improvement Association (TMLIA) & Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC (WODCW) is partnering with Wild & Scenic Film Festival.
Watch the short Wild & Scenic Trailer click the following link to get inspired:

Festival-goers can expect to see award winning films about nature, community activism, adventure, conservation, water, energy and climate change, wildlife, environmental justice, agriculture and more.

Testimonials

“The Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival On Tour is a great outreach event for the River Alliance of Wisconsin. It helps us introduce new individuals to what we do and what we are passionate about – saving rivers. This year we “passed a boot” [for] people to donate to the River Alliance – we made $4,000!” ~River Alliance of Wisconsin

Hosts of the Menomonie Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Tainter Menomin Lake Improvement Association (TMLIA) & Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC (WODCW) is partnering with Wild & Scenic Film Festival
About www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com WODCW is a Film Production Company producing films that inspire change through environmental education. Gray wolves are essential animals and are recovering on a worldwide landscape; our films, involve a global audience. We connect and engage viewers with filmmakers dedicated to documenting the conscious relationships between people and Gray wolves. We view the need for people to meaningfully engage with its wild wolves that are now struggling for survival and recovering worldwide, To support this effort, we maintain a network of subject matter experts in film producers, scientists, academics, as well as others who share a common interest to produce and share educational stories of people and Gray wolves.
About www.tmlia.org Mission Statement: Increase awareness of water quality issues, advocate resource protection, and celebrate our rivers and lakes through community engagement.

Visit Wild & Scenic Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/menomoniewildscenicfilmfestival/

The Heart of Wolf Advocacy—A Film Company

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films (WODCW) is a Film Company producing film projects that inspire change through environmental education and legislation. Gray wolves are recovering on a worldwide landscape, our films, involve a global audience. WODCW connects and engages viewers with filmmakers dedicated to documenting the conscious relationships between advocates and Gray wolves. WODCW views the need for people to meaningfully engage with its wild wolves that are now struggling for survival worldwide. To support this effort, WODCW maintains a network of subject matter experts in film producers, scientists, academics, as well as other advocates who share a common interest to advocate, produce and share educational stories of people and Gray wolves.

WODCW is working in Yellowstone National Park, Wisconsin, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands and Germany to bring you stories of advocates working to preserve the legacy of wild Gray wolves.

Wolves of Douglas County WI Films LLC believes Compassionate Conservation is the future. WODCW believes in Compassionate Conservation developed by Born Free Foundation. First, do no harm as a commitment to prioritising non-invasive approaches in conservation research and practice, and an acknowledgement that invasive interventions may harm individuals, populations, and ecosystems.

Individuals matter in conservation research and practice, not merely as units of species and populations, and should be treated with compassion both in the wild and in captivityValuing all wildlife as worthy of conservation effort, whether native or introduced, whether common or rare, and regardless of perceived usefulness to humans. Peaceful coexistence with wildlife is the ultimate aim guiding compassionate conservation practices.

WODCW does not support any type of trophy hunting to manage wild animals. Wolves of Douglas County WI Films LLC is an independent entity. Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin TM (WODCW) was founded by Rachel Tilseth in 2011 to bring education and awareness for promoting wolf recovery.

WODCW Blog: www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

Instagram: @wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin

Twitter: @WolvesDouglasCo

Website address: www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

Founder: Rachel Tilseth WODCW is copyrighted 2011

Meet the Filmmaker

Rachel Tilseth is a fine artist, educator, environmentalist, wolf advocate and filmmaker. Rachel lives and works in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Rachel earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors.

Rachel has been an environmentalist since high school. Rachel participated in the first Earth Day in 1971. Later, Rachel participated in the protests of sulfate mines that took place in the early 1990s. Rachel worked with activists John Trudell and Walter Bresette, whom she met at the Protect The Earth Pow Wows on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation near Hayward, Wisconsin. Rachel’s first art teaching job was in Kyle, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1992.

In 1991 on a howl survey in the chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Rachel met Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program Head Wolf Biologist, Adrian Wydeven. Seven years later Rachel became involved in Wisconsin’s Wolf Recovery Program. Rachel officially became a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf/Carnivore Tracker in the year 2000, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves.

In 1999, Rachel put together a story proposal about Adrian Wydeven’s volunteer Winter Wolf Tracking Program, and submitted it to National Geographic Television Channel. Although the proposal wasn’t accepted Rachel received a telephone call from them to explain why. The National Geographic Channel at the time was busy working on starting a global network and all of their resources were tied up in working to get it off the ground. The National Geographic Channel advised Rachel to resubmit the proposal in a year.

Rachel continued working to draw attention to Wisconsin’s Gray wolf and wrote to Dr. Jane Goodall in Tanzania, Africa about the Wolf recovery program. In response Rachel received three handwritten postcards from Dr. Jane Goodall.

In 2011 Great Lakes wolves were delisted. Rachel worked to draw attention to the plight of Gray wolves during the three years Wisconsin held wolf hunts. Rachel garnered the attention of the press in an effort to bring public awareness to Wisconsin’s wolf hunt, especially the regulations that allowed dogs to be used to track and trail wolves. Rachel made it known that Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves.

Rachel has put together public events. Three film screenings, and one film festival, in order to bring education and awareness about Wisconsin’s wolf hunt, and wildlife issues. In 2011 Rachel started a Facebook Page and named it after the county she tracked wolves in; Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin (WODCW). WODCW became known nationally and internationally.

In 2018 Rachel began working on a film series titled Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy. Rachel’s film series tells the stories of advocates/people working to preserve the legacy of wild gray wolves. The first series is about Yellowstone Wolves, “The Yellowstone Story” and Rachel is the Producer and Director. Rachel formed a film company in 2019 Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC.

Gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Photograph credit NPS

Watch Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films’ Trailer

Producer and Director Rachel Tilseth

Producer Maaike Middleton in Yellowstone. Maaike Middleton is a wildlife filmmaker. She was born in The Netherlands and grew up in Montana. She has traveled the globe filming wildlife from pumas in Patagonia, the illusive Amur tiger in the Russian Far East and grizzlies in her backyard. Maaike is passionate about telling stories that can make a difference and address issues that impact us all. When she is not setting camera traps to capture animal behavior she is watching films and helping with the selection process for the Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam. She received her MA from University of London- Royal Holloway BA Montana State University- Bozeman. She has worked on projects for Smithsonian, Nat Geo, Curiosity Stream, BBC Nature, PBS and ARTE.

The film’s fiscal sponsor: FilmNorth’s mission is to empower artists to tell their stories, launch and sustain successful careers, and advance The North as a leader in the national network of independent filmmakers. We achieve our mission by nurturing a vibrant, diverse community of film and media artists; providing education and resources at every stage of their careers; and celebrating their achievements.

Take Action to Protect Endangered Gray Wolves in the Lower 48 states.

The latest threat to the recovery of Gray wolves is S.3140 – A bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to issue a final rule relating to the delisting of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

This latest threat to gray wolves is sponsored by Sen. Lee, Mike [R-UT] introduced on 12/19/2019 and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works. To find out more about Senate Committee members click on the following: Committee on Environment and Public Works. Please contact your Senators. You will find more information on how to contact them. Read on!

Latest Actions

Committees: Senate – Environment and Public Works
Latest Action: Senate – 12/19/2019 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Gray Wolves Protected Under the Endangered Species Act

In the Lower 48, gray wolves have been listed under federal endangered species laws since the 1960s, when they had been extirpated, except for small populations in Michigan and Minnesota. Now, wolf populations in the Great Lakes area have grown to about 4,500 individuals. Wisconsin Alone now has 974 wolves. The Northern Rockies population includes more than 1,500 wolves across Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, Utah and California, thanks to natural migration from Canada and reintroductions in Yellowstone National Park.

But the recovery of Gray wolves has been, and still is being jeopardized by reckless state sanctioned trophy hunting.

The status of gray wolves under the Endangered Species Act has been contentious for years. In 2011, the USFWS removed gray wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin from the endangered species list.

What happened when wolves lost their endangered species listing in these states?

Minnesota and Wisconsin held state sanctioned wolf hunts. Thankfully, the decision was challenged in court and reversed in 2014. Wolves were ordered back on to the ESA. An appeals court upheld that ruling in 2017.

Shortly after being delisted in Wisconsin gray wolves were allowed to be hunted with the use of dogs in 2013 & 2014 in state sanctioned wolf hunts.

The barbaric act of wolf hounding

The state of Wisconsin allows the use of dogs to hunt wolves when they are not protected under the Endangered Species Act. Wisconsin quite literally throws dogs to wolves.

In 2012, the Service removed gray wolves in Wyoming from the list, in a decision that was challenged in court but ultimately upheld. Congress removed wolves in the Northern Rockies from ESA protections through a rider attached to budget legislation in 2011. Currently, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana hold wolf hunting seasons.

Action Alert

Keep gray wolves in the Lower 48 states protected under the Endangered Species Act by contacting your senators.

Please be aware that as a matter of professional courtesy, many senators will acknowledge, but not respond to, a message from another senator’s constituent. Click Here to find your Senator Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senator.

Contacting the Senate

Click here to find your Senator’s contact information by state
By E-mail: All questions and comments regarding public policy issues, legislation, or requests for personal assistance should be directed to the Senators from your state. Some senators have e-mail addresses while others post comment forms on their websites. When sending e-mail to your senator, please include your return postal mailing address. Please be aware that as a matter of professional courtesy, many senators will acknowledge, but not respond to, a message from another senator’s constituent.

By Postal Mail

You can direct postal correspondence to your senator or to other U.S. Senate offices at the following address:

For Correspondence to U.S. Senators:

Office of Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The senate bill has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Senate Committee members click on the following: Committee on Environment and Public Works.

By Telephone

Alternatively, you may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request

Take Action to protect America’s Gray wolf!

The Endangered Species Act protects the endangered species, and the habitat it depends upon.

Extractive industries, such as; oil & gas, mining, lumbering, and real-estate developers want free & easy access to wilderness areas, but gray wolves stand in their way. Don’t let these greedy extractive industries destroy decades of wolf recovery. Take Action!

Support Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story Film Project this Holiday Season

Make a gift for the film project that educates and advocates for Yellowstone’s wolves. Too many yellowstone Gray wolves have fallen prey to unjust laws that support trophy hunting. Once a gray wolf steps off the park boundary there’s no protection. All three states that surround Yellowstone National Park hold legal wolf hunts.

The Yellowstone Story Film

This is a story of passion, endurance and fighting even when the odds are against you. In this story I want to introduce you to four courageous people working to preserve the legacy of Yellowstone’s wolves. People either love or hate the wolf, and he’s been long misunderstood for many centuries.

One of the advocates working to preserve the legacy of Yellowstone’s wolves is Linda Thurston, and here’s her dialogue from the film’s pitch trailer:

“We’ll watch wolf packs in the park and we get to learn about every individual and their personalities. And the younger ones, the older ones, and the ones you know are the good hunters for instance, and the ones that play the support roles and learn their personalities. Then we’ll watch them for years. Then there’s an elk hunt and a wolf hunt right outside the park. These wolves will leave because it’s a free meal for them to eat a gut pile that an elk hunter left on the landscape. Then that wolf might get shot over it. And it’s heartbreaking for us to see this animal, it’s not like our pet, but we get to learn its personality like as if it was a pet. And it just breaks our heart and makes you wanna speak up and do something about it.”

Support Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story Film Project

Make a donation through the film’s fiscal sponsor Film North.

Watch the Pitch Trailer

www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com for more information on the film project.

Happy Holidays!


About Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC
WODCW is a Film Company producing film projects that inspire change through environmental education and legislation. Gray wolves are recovering on a worldwide landscape, our films, involve a global audience. We connect and engage viewers with filmmakers dedicated to documenting the conscious relationships between advocates and Gray wolves.

We view the need for people to meaningfully engage with its wild wolves that are now struggling for survival worldwide.

To support this effort, we maintain a network of subject matter experts in film producers, scientists, academics, as well as other advocates who share a common interest to advocate, produce and share educational stories of people and Gray wolves.

Call to Action: Ask the WDNR to limit the hunting of coyotes to a respectable season

Coyotes are hunted year-round in an open hunting season with unlimited daily bag statewide in Wisconsin. The scientific data doesn’t support such a reckless hunt of a wild carnivore.

Unlimited hunts on coyote are reckless conservation policies that must be changed.

Coyotes (Canis latrans)

Coyote photograph credit NPS

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are medium-sized wild canids indigenous to North America. They are seasonally monestrus socially monogamous, and territoria. Once bonded, a coyote pair remains together for an indefinite number of years, sharing responsibility for territory maintenance. Litters averaging 3–7 pups are typically born March thru May in most North American latitudes after a gestation of 60–63 days,and both parents participate in the care and rearing of young
Mature offspring may disperse or remain within their natal territories, assisting in the defense of resources and infant pups, but typically only the dominant male and female breed. Juvenile coyotes around 12 months of age can be reproductively active in their 1st winter, but available evidence suggests that juvenile and yearling females are less fecund than adult females 2 years of age. Older females 10 years of age gradually pass into reproductive senescence, whereas a male coyote was reported to have sired pups when 12 years of age. Older coyotes may continue to maintain territory residency or revert to a transient lifestyle. Source Journal of Mommalogy

The coyote, our unique Song Dog who has existed in North America since the Pleistocene, is the most persecuted native carnivore in North America. The coyote is the flagship species for all misunderstood and exploited carnivores. Poisoned, trapped, aerial gunned and killed for bounties and in contests, an estimated half a million coyotes are slaughtered every year in the U.S. — one per minute. —Project Coyote

Wonton Waste

Photos surfaced of decomposing coyote carcasses located on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands south of the city of Washburn. The USFS and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are the investigating the dumped coyote carcasses.

“Altogether I found more than 60 coyote carcasses at the dump site before I quit counting,” said Paul DeMain, the Hayward resident who took the photos on April 29, 2018, near a popular hiking trail in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. “Killing and dumping wild animals is repugnant to living beings, life, and our coexistence with creation.”

Why doesn’t Killing the whole pack work?

When pack animals such as coyotes, dingoes and wolves are killed, the social structure of their packs breaks down. This causes coyotes to breed to replace their pups. Coyotes protect territories, and breaking up a pack brings in other coyotes. If the coyote pack has established a territory near livestock it makes more sense to leave them intact. Why not implement non lethal controls teaching the established pack to steer clear.

“Coyotes keep rodent and rabbit populations in check. Rodents and lagomorphs (rabbits and hares) are important food items for coyotes, often making up more than half of the dry weight of prey items found in scats (Fedriani et al., 2001; Morey et al., 2007).” —Project Coyote

Coyote photograph credit by John E Marriott

Coyotes are hunted year-round in an open hunting season with unlimited daily bag statewide in Wisconsin. Coyote are considered expendable because they are so adaptable. Coyotes in Wisconsin are considered furbearers that can be hunted with no daily bag limit.

Call to Action

Ask Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to limit the hunting of coyotes to a respectable season and remove the 24 hour-three-hundred-sixty-five-day year round hunt with an unlimited daily bag. Coyotes keep rodents, rabbits and feral cats in check and are essential to our ecosystems. Thus endangered & rare song birds can flourish in coyote habitat.

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB or Board) sets policy for the Department of Natural Resources and exercises authority and responsibility in accordance with state laws.

Contact information
If you have Board-related questions or would like to request information, to submit written comments, or to register to speak at a Board meeting or listening session, email or call:
Laurie J. Ross, Board Liaison
Office of the Secretary
Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov
608-267-7420
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707-7921

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films will be working to limit coyote hunting to a respectable season. We will be working with other organizations to accomplish these goals. In the meantime please politely email the Natural Resources Board asking for a reasonable/respectful coyote hunting season. Thank you for your help!

I relished being awakened with the sounds of the coyote family outside my house while living on the prairie of South Dakota in the 1990s. I returned home from town one afternoon to find their lifeless bodies nailed to the barn. I was a renter, not the property owner, and asked them why they killed them. Their response was the only good coyote is a dead coyote. I tried to educate them that coyote will not hunt near or around their den site. But it fell on deaf ears because it’s been a culturally ingrained behavior to kill predators, such as coyote, ever since the continent was settled by western civilization. —Rachel Tilseth

“American policymakers have always needed enemies, and with wolves gone, the coyote stepped unsuspectingly into the glare”
― Dan Flores, Coyote America

Gray Wolves and White-tailed Deer are Coexisting Very Well in Wisconsin

“Minnesota has also become the number two all time Boone and Crocket trophy white- tailed deer producing state, followed by Wisconsin. This might suggest that wolves and deer are co-existing very well.”

Wolves and Deer

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimated 1.8 million White-tailed deer statewide. The 2018-2019 midwinter count estimated that there are a minimum of 914-978 Gray wolves in Wisconsin, in 243 packs.

Producing a trophy White-tailed deer

Minnesota has developed one of the largest deer herds in the nation while simultaneously restoring the gray wolf to an estimated 3,000 animals. Minnesota has also become the number two all time Boone and Crocket trophy white-tailed deer producing state, followed by Wisconsin. This might suggest that wolves and deer are co-existing very well.
Wolves may even play a role in helping to increase the health and fitness of the overall deer population by culling the sick, weak, and the old and leaving the healthier animals to reproduce and thrive.
From Wolves and Deer in Wisconsin WDNR website

Wisconsin’s White-tailed doe with fawns photo credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Considering that all the data points to “wolves and deer are coexisting very well” why do we only hear negative news about the gray wolf? Case in point From a staunch anti wolf website. Wisconsin Wolf Facts claims that Gray wolves killed more deer than hunters. The cherry picked data claims wolves are killing more deer than the gun-deer hunters in the 2019 season:

“Gray wolves are now responsible for killing more white-tailed deer in four counties of one Great Lakes state than annual the number of deer killed by gun-hunters, according to data released this week by Wisconsin Wolf Facts.” The group is headed by Lauri Groskopf, a hunter that lost two dogs to wolves while bear hunting a few years back.

Wisconsin Gray wolves photo credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Misleading the public

The following table is being widely distributed to pro wolf hunting groups in the hopes that if gray wolves get delisted this cherry picked data will serve as proof that a wolf hunt is needed.

Table from Wisconsin Wolf Facts shows incomplete data from Wisconsin White -tailed deer hunt 2019

The above table only shows results from gun-harvest summarizes for 2019. This table conveniently scapegoats the gray wolf, proving it’s biased data. In reality when WDNR data of Deer Mortality in Wisconsin’s Northern and Central Forests data has Wisconsin black bear estimated deer kill at 33,000 compared to gray wolves deer kill estimated at 13,000.

Deer Mortality in Wisconsin’s Northern and Central Forests From WDNR 2019

Gray wolves in Wisconsin’s Northern and central forests are helping to keep white-tailed deer healthy by culling the weak, the sick and the old. Gray wolves are providing Wisconsin’s deer hunter with a stronger and healthier White-tailed deer.

Science versus anti wolf bias

A single gray wolf while hunting comes across an abandoned White-tailed deer bed, and gently blows upon it causing all the particles to flow up into the wolf’s olfactory sense. The wolf then can determine if the blood in the tick, that fell off the deer the night before, contains pus in it.

Wisconsin’s Northern and Central Forests data has Wisconsin black bear estimated deer kill at 33,000 compared to gray wolves deer kill estimated at 13,000. Photograph of black bear credit Snapshot Wisconsin

Perhaps White-tailed deer have become wise to deer baiting and may be eating at night while hunters are sleeping. Today’s white-tailed deer hunter sits in a tree stand waiting for an unsuspecting deer to approach and eat the corn or apples used for deer bait.

The baiting of White-tailed deer for hunting is allowed only in areas where there is no CWD present.
Wolves have a sense of smell 100 times greater than humans and they use this keen sense while hunting. Photo credit NPS

In summary

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimated 1.8 million White-tailed deer statewide. The 2018-2019 midwinter count estimated that there are a minimum of 914-978 Gray wolves in Wisconsin, in 243 packs. “Minnesota has also become the number two all time Boone and Crocket trophy white- tailed deer producing state, followed by Wisconsin. This might suggest that wolves and deer are co-existing very well.”

Wolves may even play a role in helping to increase the health and fitness of the overall deer population by culling the sick, weak, and the old and leaving the healthier animals to reproduce and thrive.
From Wolves and Deer in Wisconsin WDNR website

Wildlife Safe Corridors

Saving the lives of humans and wild animals. Imagination in Wisconsin a wildlife corridor across interstate 53 in the north woods. Herds of White-tailed deer cross over the interstate, not only safely, but the corridor allows more movement in and around human settlements. Think of all the money saved by preventing accidents between vehicles and wild animals. Watch the following film.

Sen. Udall and Rep. Beyer Revive Wildlife Corridors Bill to Make Movement Easier and Safer for Wildlife by Lindsey Botts

There are over 4 million miles ofhighways, roads, and other transportation arteries throughout the US and manyof them cut through the heart of vital habitat for endangered and threatenedspecies. While key to our mobility, they are often designed withoutconsideration for wildlife movement.

The impacts of these paved paths can be devastating for wildlife. On a basic level, isolated islands of biodiversity are formed that fragment wildlife populations, divide habitats, and degrade ecosystems. At its extreme, human development cuts off entire migration routes and blocks any chance of adapting to changing ecosystems.

Earlier this month, Sen. Tom Udall(D-N.M.) and U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) introduced a bill that would makemovement safer and easier for wildlife. The impetus for the bill was the recentUNreport that found at least 1 million species are in danger ofextinction due to accelerated human activity.

TheWildlife Corridors Conservation Act of 2019, as it’sknown, would help stem the tide of declining species and habitats by connectingecosystems with over crosses, underpasses, and culverts. They would create asystem of corridors that connect and extend habitats so that animals can move overlarge areas, whether it be for daily foraging, seasonal migration, or finding amate.

“Widespread habitat destruction isleaving scores of animal and plant species both homeless and helpless. We mustact now to conserve wildlife corridors that would save species and mitigateagainst the mass extinction crisis we are rapidly hurtling toward,” said Sen.Udall in a pressrelease. “In New Mexico, our millionsof acres of public lands are home to thousands of iconic species that couldvanish if we fail to take action that enable species to survive.”

There are approximately 1 – 2 millionwildlife vehicle collisions annually. A Federal Highways Administration studyfound road mortality is one of the leading threats to at least 21 endangeredand threaten species. And according to the same study, accidents costAmericans approximately eight billion dollars a year.While the damage is mostly monetary for people, wildlife often end up squishedroadkill.

The idea for a unifying wildlife corridors framework is hardly new. Rep. Beyer sponsor a wildlife corridors bill back in 2016 and, most recently, a similar bill was sponsor by both Sen. Udall and Rep. Beyer in December 2018. Both proposals stalled in the House after being submitted to subcommittees.

Nevertheless, research on places likeBanff National Park have shown that building wildlife corridors can be a powerfultool for protecting biodiversity. Onestudy found that the installation of wildlife crossings alongstretches of the Trans-Canada Highway reduced collisions on average by 80% overa 24-year period.

Such success has spurred some states towarm up to the idea of animal crossings. The Western Governors Association and severalNew England states, along with south eastern Canadian provinces, have already draftedagreements that recognize the importance of increasing wildlife connectivity. Andat least seven states have proposed legislation that would require Fish andWildlife departments to identify, study, or install wildlife corridors. In manyof them, linking habitats would protect some of our most iconic species likebig horn sheep, pronghorn, grizzly bears, wolves, and the Florida panther.

“With roughly one in five animal andplant species in the U.S. at risk of extinction due to habitat loss andfragmentation, one of the simplest yet most effective things we can do is toprovide them ample opportunity to move across lands and waters,” said Rep.Beyer. “The U.N. report on accelerating extinctions makes it clear that thewindow for action to protect the planet’s biodiversity is closing.”

Wildlife corridors are especially usefulfor connecting national parks, which act as refuges, but are being pushed totheir limits as climates change and development erodes what habitat is left. Assuch, the once vast areas degrade, reducing their ability to sustain the myriadof species and plants that depend on them.

In practice, the bill would grant authority to key federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Interior, and Transportation to designate wildlife corridors on federal lands. And they would work with state, tribal, and voluntary private stakeholders to identify, build, and manage the corridors on non-federal land. Regional Wildlife Movement Councils will identify and rank non-federal projects and use money from the Wildlife Grant Program to incentivize land owners willing to participate. The goal would be to connect federal and non-federal lands to create an entire system that will traverse the entire country.

Despite the bill’s support amongconservation groups and bipartisan sponsors (one republican, Vern Buchanan(R-FL), cosponsored it), it’s unclear whether it’ll pass the House,let alone a Republican lead Senate. In all likelihood, more momentum is neededacross the aisle before there’s any further movement. Yet the bill’s sponsorsremain resolute.

“The science is clear: human activityis destroying and disrupting the habitats of wildlife around the world. If wedon’t change course, entire ecosystems will be lost and entire species will bewiped out forever. It’s already happening,” said Sen. Wyden (D-OR), a cosponsor,in a statement. “The United States needs to do its part in taking bettercare of our planet and protecting the one million plant and animal species nowfacing extinction before it’s too late.”

The Italian Story of Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy Film Project Underway…

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC has several film projects in the works. We are developing the Italian Story. Brunella Pernigotti is working on the story about the rare Italian wolf and the Advocates working to preserve their legacy. To learn more click on the Linqua Italiana tab on WODCW’s Home Page.

Photograph credit by Antonio Iannibelli

About Brunella Pernigotti

I love wolves and nature in general. Even if I’m not a biologist, I’m improving my knowledge of wolves and their problems to survive in my country, to devote myself to the protection of the environment and of the endangered species as far as I can do.

Brunella Pernigotti Italian Story Film Producer

I live in Turin, Italy. I’m a teacher, a writer and a photographer. I published a novel and a book of tales and have to my credit about ten one-man exhibitions of photos. I’m a member of the board of a no-profit association of Turin, “Tribù del Badnightcafè”, that organizes cultural and artistic events. Besides I created a group of volunteers to help women who are victim of domestic violence.


About Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC


WODCW is a Film Company producing film projects that inspire change through environmental education and legislation. Gray wolves are recovering on a worldwide landscape, our films, involve a global audience. We connect and engage viewers with filmmakers dedicated to documenting the conscious relationships between advocates and Gray wolves.

We view the need for people to meaningfully engage with its wild wolves that are now struggling for survival worldwide.

To support this effort, we maintain a network of subject matter experts in film producers, scientists, academics, as well as other advocates who share a common interest to advocate, produce and share educational stories of people and Gray wolves.


Watch our Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Film Project Trailer

200,000+ signatures submitted in favor of wolf reintroduction in Colorado

Restore the Howl!

Backers of a proposal to reintroduce gray wolves to western Colorado turned in 211,000 signatures for a measure that would put the measure on the ballot.

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund said in a Tuesday news conference that the measure has ‘widespread bipartisan support,” claiming two-thirds of the state supports wolf reintroduction. “This marries wildlife, conservation and direct democracy,” said Rob Edwards, the head of the group.

Its the first ballot measure seeking the reintroduction of an endangered species, he said.

The initiative directs Colorado Parks and Wildlife “to develop, after public input, a science-based plan for reintroducing wolves to Western Colorado by 2023.”

Gray wolves, an endangered species, haven’t found a home in Colorado since the 1940s, according to Joanna Lambert, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Should voters approve the measure, Colorado would be the last state to restore the species to its public lands, she said. This would bring back a “true American species,” Lambert said, and in a way that is “respectful to the needs and concerns of all Coloradans.” Read more at Outdoor Colorado

Photo Credit: Antagain (iStock).

What you need to know about a ballot effort to bring wolves back to Colorado

Should voters make this call of the wild?

By Alesandra Tejeda The Cololrado Independent

Over the next month, an army of volunteers will continue fanning across the state making sure they’ve gathered enough signatures to put a much-debated question on the November 2020 ballot: Should voters reintroduce gray wolves onto public lands in western Colorado where they once roamed but haven’t since the 1940s?

If volunteers successfully gather the necessary 124,632 signatures by Dec. 13, you could get a shot at deciding whether Colorado gets its wolves back along with whether to re-elect President Donald Trump or send a new U.S. senator to Washington. A group backing Initiative 107 says it already has enough signatures, but is gathering more just to be safe.

If the question makes the ballot, it will be the first time voters anywhere in the nation will decide whether to reintroduce gray wolves.

Photo credit NPS

What would the proposed ballot measure do?

If it passes, the new law starts a series of steps that would end with some eventual number of wolves being introduced onto public lands in the western part of the state. The ballot language also provides compensation for those who lose their livestock to wolves.

Initiative 107 would direct the Parks and Wildlife Commission to develop a plan to introduce wolves here “using the best scientific data available” and also to hold public hearings to gather “scientific, economic, and social considerations.”

The commission would have to figure out the details — how many wolves exactly, where they would come from, how they’d be managed, what the compensation program would look like — based on these hearings and testimony. The commission also would have to develop methodologies for determining when the gray wolf population is sustaining itself and “when to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered or threatened species” as provided by state law.

The plan would be to start reintroducing wolves to Colorado by 2023.

To read the full article click here.


Learn more about the plan at The Rocky Mountain Wolf Project Click here.