Our Projects

People & Wolves: The Wisconsin Story

Wolves Mired in Political Intrigue

The film tells the story of Wisconsin’s gray wolves, the controversies surrounding them, and how people are learning to coexist as these native predators are finally back on the landscape after nearly 60 years. We have been in contact with Dr. Jane Goodall about what’s been happening to Wisconsin’s wild gray wolf and she has graciously agreed to be our first interview!

Dr. Jane Goodall is a world famous primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and Roots and Shoots. Her work began in Tanzania where she studied the social and familial behaviors of chimpanzees. She is considered the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. Her work has been critical to conservation and animal welfare efforts. I first made contact with Dr. Goodall back in 1999. I let her know all about Wisconsin’s wolf

recovery program to which she responded with three handwritten postcards from Dar es Salaam , Tanzania Africa.   I decided  to ask her if she would be willing to appear in our film project, and I sent her an email.  I received a response from her the very next day agreeing  to be interviewed.  How fortunate it is to have Dr. Jane Goodall speaking up for Wisconsin’s wild gray wolf!  The (Zoom)  interview is set for the second week in June.

More Information about  http://People & Wolves: The Wisconsin Story is available on this website. The documentary will examine the various people involved between several opposing forces for over a decade culminating with court battles. People & Wolves will present the viewer with the story of Wisconsin’s gray wolves and the controversy surrounding them on both sides. Since Gray wolves recolonized parts of Wisconsin, the viewer will learn; how it affects people living in  the wolf’s territory as a part of the broader story that must be told. The film will interview state agency personnel, biologists, livestock owners, farmers, tribes and hunters to get a complete picture presenting their stories.

Featuring:

Dr. Jane Goodall,

Adrian Wydeven

Marvin DeFoe

Peter David

Producer & Director:

Rachel Tilseth

Producer:

Manish Bhatt

Cinematographer:

Benjamin Coffey

FILM PROJECT: “PEOPLE & WOLVES” 

THE WISCONSIN STORY (WT)

Can the state resolve the controversies surrounding wolf management? 

Film Treatment 

This film will tell the story of Wisconsin’s gray wolves and the controversy that surrounds them.

This documentary will examine the various people involved, between several opposing forces for over a decade culminating with court battles.  

Gray wolves recolonized parts of Wisconsin in the 1970s, after being killed off in the state in the 1950s, and grew to a population of over 1000 wolves by 2020. Unfortunately this conservation success story has become very controversial in the last decade. Federal and state endangered species acts have helped recover wolves in the state, but four attempts by the federal government to delisting wolves from the Endangered Species Act (ESA), have resulted in court challenges returning wolves to the endangered list.  After federal delisting in 2012, the Wisconsin legislature mandated that wolf hunts would be required whenever gray wolves were off the ESA list. 

The most recent delisting battle started in January 2021, leading to a court-ordered three-day controversial wolf hunt during the breeding season in February, and it went over the allotted quota; angering many Wisconsinites. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) began work on a new state Wolf Management Plan that was last completed in 1999. The DNR formed a committee of stakeholders, including the tribes.

Ojibwe bands in Red Cliff and Bad River have their own, Ma’iingan (Wolf) Relationship Plans. The state must work with the tribes on wolf management, including any wolf hunting seasons. Political battles began over how to manage the next hunt in November 2021. The struggle between the DNR, its Natural Resources Board, and pro-wolf advocates ended with several lawsuits and one that yielded an injunction to stop the November 2021 wolf hunt. The Six Ojibwe tribes also sued and claimed the wolf hunt violated their treaty rights. A year after the controversial wolf hunt, a California judge ordered gray wolves in much of the lower 48 states back on the ESA on February 18, 2022. Though gray wolves have numerically recovered in Wisconsin, the future of wolf management remains in limbo in the state.

Featuring Dr. Jane Goodall, Adrian Wydeven and Marvin DeFoe

“Ally of the Grey Wolf”

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