Why do State and federal officials turn a blind-eye to violations of Endangered Species Act regulations?

What happens when hunters in pursuit of bear in Wisconsin repeatedly degrade gray wolf habitat in violation of ESA regulations section 9.

If the definition of harm includes significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns, such as pup rearing, then gray wolves are at risk by the actions of hunters baiting & running dogs through habitat protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes area, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, were relisted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), effective December 19, 2014. Wisconsin’s Gray wolf is protected under the ESA.

Gray wolves are under protection according to Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act, ESA, prohibits any person, including private and public entities, from taking any listed species within the United States. “Take” is defined as “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.”

The term “harm” is further defined by regulation to include “any act which actually kills or injures fish or wildlife,” and emphasizes that such acts may include “significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns including breeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding, or sheltering.”

The following is a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity to officials regarding ESA regulations:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, by authorizing actions that harm wolves, is subjecting itself to the risk of liability under Section 9 of the ESA. As explained above, Section 9 prohibits “take” of listed species, which includes harassment, pursuit, wounding and killing of listed animals. All of these prohibited acts can occur when hounds encounter wolves during training or hunting. Although the hunters and their dogs are the ones that directly cause the harm to wolves, the state agency can be held liable for authorizing these activities, and numerous lawsuits based on such a “vicarious liability theory” have been successfully brought against state agencies for authorizing hunting or trapping activities that harm listed species. See, e.g., Animal Welfare Inst. v. Martin, 588 F. Supp. 2d 70, 76 (D. Me. 2008). The Center has brought several such cases, including, for example, a case involving Maine Department of Inland Fisheries’ authorization of use of traps and snares in habitat occupied by endangered Canada lynx. See Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv., Case No. 15-CV-327- JAW (D. Maine).

…“significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns including breeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding, or sheltering.” Yet in Wisconsin every spring, summer & fall, during essential pup hearing times, Bear Hunters using bait & running dogs through rendezvous sites are never cited for violations of ESA regulations.

According to the Endangered Species Act regulations section 9 these regulations are being ignored and or not enforced By federal & state officials in charge of protecting Gray wolves. I sent the following letter to USF&WS, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board members, Chief Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden, Governor Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Justice.

I wrote a letter asking for clarification as to why ESA regulations are being ignored and or not enforced.

The following is my letter.

Dear Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Officials in charge of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board members,

I’m asking for clarification of ESA regulations regarding ‘harm’ of endangered species. I believe ESA regulations regarding Wisconsin’s Gray wolf have been ignored, and or not enforced by USFWS and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Officials. Every summer bear hunters run their dogs through wolf rendezvous sites repeatedly degrading Gray wolf habitat. I believe this is a clear violation of ESA regulations regarding an endangered species. This past summer a bear hunter released his older dog in known wolf territory, wolves killed his dog, and he went in looking for the dog. The hunter found two wolves had killed his dog and he shot at the wolves who were defending their rendezvous site. I’m looking for clarification as to why the following rule is ignored, not enforced by state & federal officials:

“This final rule defines the term “harm” to include any act which actually kills or injures fish or wildlife, and emphasizes that such acts may include significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns of fish or wildlife.” Source: https://www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-policies/definition-of-harm.html Endangered Species Act | Regulations and Policies | Definition of “Harm”
[Federal Register: November 8, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 215)]

I look forward to your response/responses.

Sincerely yours,

Rachel Tilseth


A Wisconsin Gray Wolf Photograph Credit Snapshot Wisconsin.

The following is a response to my letter.

Your email requesting clarification of ESA regulations regarding harm of endangered species has been shared with the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board; and with appropriate department staff for their response.

Please know that each Wisconsin Natural Resources Board meeting is webcast live and will then be permanently available on demand/archived. You can forward the following link and information to others so they can watch a recording of the Board meeting. Go to http://dnr.wi.gov/about/nrb/agenda.html and click Webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month’s meeting.

If you have not done so already, I encourage you to “subscribe” to future Wisconsin Natural Resources Board notices (e.g. agenda, brief of action, calendar) and receive email or text updates. You can do so under SUBSCRIBE at http://dnr.wi.gov/about/nrb/.

Best regards,

Laurie J. Ross
Natural Resources Board Liaison – Office of the Secretary Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
101 South Webster Street
P. O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921
Phone: (608) 267-7420
Fax: (608) 266-6983
Email: laurie.ross@wisconsin.gov


In 2013 a study “Bear-baiting may exacerbate wolf-hunting dog conflict” by School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan, United States of America: They found that the neighboring states, with similar wolf and bear populations and similar numbers of bear-hunting permits issued per wolf, report dramatically different numbers of wolf attacks on hunting dogs. Wisconsin’s relative risk of attack is two to seven times higher than Michigan’s.

During the 2016 Wisconsin bear hunting season 37 hunting dogs were lost in the pursuit of bear.

If Gray wolves, a species protected under the Endangered Species Act, are being harassed by hunters baiting & using dogs to track and trail black bear, my question is why are these ESA regulations being ignored?

Relaxed Bear Hunting Regulations

It’s a mystery as to just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods during training & hunting. Why is this a mystery? Because a change in regulations took place that removed the Class B bear training & hunting licence. Because of that change it’s impossible to know; just how many dogs in pursuit of bear are running through the woods. WODCW’s Blog

If the definition of harm includes significant habitat modification or degradation that significantly impairs essential behavioral patterns, such as pup rearing, then gray wolves are at risk by the actions of hunters baiting & running dogs through habitat protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Wolves are an imperiled species, that are a part of Wisconsin’s wild legacy, and are being pushed to the brink of extinction; by conservation policies that favor a group of fringe hunters. These special interest, fringe hunters take advantage of the current political environment. They cause harm to wildlife by the “loosening” of regulations; they pushed for the removal of the Class B bear training & hunting licence that allowed for an undetermined number of dogs running through wolf habitat. That could definitely be the cause of the 37 bear hunting dog deaths.

When the sport of pursing bear with dogs began in 1963 wolves were all but eradicated in the state of Wisconsin.

Bear baiting begins earlier in Wisconsin and lasts longer, the scientists note. “The longer you bait, the more opportunity you provide for wolves to discover and potentially defend bear-bait sites,” says Bump. “Most hunters release their dogs at bait sites, and the longer the bait has been around, the more likely hunting dogs are to encounter territorial wolves who have found and are possibly defending the bait. So it appears that baiting is an important factor.”

“Broken and crushed legs, sliced-open abdomens and punctured lungs. Dogs lying mangled and dying on the surgery table — all in the pursuit of sport.” Joe Bodewes, Veterinarian from a letter in the Wisconsin State Journal dated Sep 24, 2013.

Wolf Depredation of a hunting dog in pursuit of black bear.

If hunter’s dogs are being killed in such a horrific manner, then what are the consequences to wolves, an endangered species, that are defending pups against hunter’s dogs in pursuit of bear? Furthermore, this all occurs during essential pup rearing times.

Gray wolf pups are usually born in mid April and by summer are about four months old when hunters begin training season & running their dogs in pursuit of bear. Typically wolves will leave these pup with babysitters at rendezvous sites while they are off hunting. Gray wolves are never far from their pups and are always on guard. They will defend their pups from packs of free ranging hunting dogs. If wolves are constantly having to guard and defend their pups how does it affect their ability to rear pups? Isn’t this a significant violation of ESA regulations section 9.

A Wisconsin Gray wolf pup. Photograph credit WDNR.

WDNR puts out warnings, wolf caution areas, on their website when there is a wolf depredation on a hunting dog. Hunters are reimbursed up to $2,500.00 for each dog killed while in pursuit of black bear during training and hunting seasons. Is this payout an incentive to ignore wolf caution warnings?

This past summer a bear hunter released his older dog in known wolf territory, wolves killed his dog, and he went in looking for the dog. The hunter found two wolves had killed his dog and he shot at the wolves who were defending their rendezvous site.

In conclusion, I’m watching & waiting for a response to my letter. I want to know: Why do State and federal officials turn a blind-eye to Endangered Species Act regulations when hunters repeatedly degrade gray wolves in Wisconsin?

Here’s what you can do: Email Laurie J. Ross
Natural Resources Board Liaison – Office of the Secretary Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at laurie.ross@wisconsin.gov and ask her to add my letter to the board’s agenda.

This conflict between Wisconsin’s gray wolf and hunters using bait & running dogs on black bear is ongoing. There seems to be no end insight and these hunters are reimbursed for lost dogs. Are these hunters ignoring ESA regulations and continuing the conflict in the hopes this will get them a season on wolves?

Wisconsin Public Television segment is from 2010 concerning bear hunters & wolves.

Pioneer of Trophic Cascade Robert T. Paine an American ecologist…

The short film “Some Animals Are More Equal than Others: Trophic Cascades and Keystone Species” opens by asking two fundamental questions in ecology: “What determines how many species live in a given place? Or how large can each population grow?” The film then describes the pioneering experiments by Robert Paine and James Estes, in the 1960s and 1970s, which started to address them. Paine’s experiments on the coast of Washington state showed that the starfish is a keystone species, having a disproportionately large impact on its ecosystem relative to its abundance. Estes and colleague John Palmisano discovered that the kelp forests of the North Pacific are indirectly regulated by sea otters, which feed on sea urchins that consume kelp. The presence or absence of sea otters causes a cascade of direct and indirect effects down the food chain, which in turn affect the structure of the ecosystem. These early experiments inspired countless others on keystone species and trophic cascades in ecosystems throughout the world. Source www.biointeractive.org film guide and educational materials.

Paine dealt a serious blow to the dominant view in ecology of the time: that ecosystems are stable dramas if they have a diverse cast of species. Instead, he showed that individual species such as Pisaster are prima donnas, whose absence can warp the entire production into something blander and unrecognizable. He described these crucial creatures, whose influence far exceeds their abundance, as keystone species, after the central stone that prevents an arch from crumbling. Their loss can initiate what Paine would later call trophic cascades — the rise and fall of connected species throughout the food web. The terms stuck, and ‘keystone’ would go on to be applied to species from sea otters to wolves, grey whales and spotted bass. —Ed Young, Nature Magazine January 16, 2013 Scientific American

The wolf is a keystone species. Jerome Helmer, Ark Nature www.rewildingeurope.com

Robert T. Paine, (Robert Treat Paine III), American ecologist (born April 13, 1933, Cambridge, Mass.—died June 13, 2016, Seattle, Wash.), was an icon in the field of ecology and the originator of the keystone species hypothesis, which posited that some species (typically large predators) have a disproportionately large effect on the biological communities in which they occur. Paine received a B.S. (1954) from Harvard University and earned a Ph.D. in zoology (1961) from the University of Michigan before joining (1962) the University of Washington as an assistant professor in the department of zoology. Paine unveiled (1969) his keystone species hypothesis after researching the ochre sea star (Pisaster ochraceus), a predatory species in the tidal pool communities on Tatoosh Island in the Pacific Northwest. After removing all of the sea stars from the tidal pool, he discovered that the mussel population rose dramatically. The mussels covered the rocky surfaces of the tidal pool to the detriment of other tidal pool denizens (limpets, barnacles, and sponges) and thus changed the structure of the tidal ecosystem. He noticed similar patterns in kelp forest ecosystems when sea otter populations declined; the population of their prey, sea urchins, grew large, consuming enough kelp to drive away other animals that would normally feed on that seaweed. Paine’s groundbreaking keystone species concept, which was later clarified to describe the impact of strong single-species relationships that were out of proportion with the species’ biomass in the ecosystem, became an important factor in conservation; many ecologists used his model to guide their decisions on which habitats and ecosystems to protect to maximize biodiversity. Paine was presented with the MacArthur Award from the Ecological Society of America in 1983 and the International Cosmos Prize in 2013. Encyclopdia Britannica

Photo courtesy of Benjamin Drummond for The Natural Histories Project: http://naturalhistoriesproject.org/

We Remember Spitfire…

The Yellowstone National Park video is of Yellowstone Wolf Project Researcher Kira Cassidy as she watches the alpha female wolf 926 known as Spitfire chasing an elk. This November we remember Spitfire as one of the members of the famous Lamar Valley Wolf Pack because she was legally shot by a trophy hunter last November. RIP Spitfire.

By 1926, as a result of federal and state predator control efforts, gray wolves (Canis lupus) were officially extirpated from Yellowstone National Park. Northern Rocky Mountain wolves were eventually listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973.

With ESA listing came the goal of restoring wolves to their historic range, and in 1995 and 1996, following many years of public planning and input, a total of 31 wolves, captured in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, were reintroduced to Yellowstone. Wolves flourished amidst Yellowstone’s abundant prey and expansive, protected wilderness.

Gray wolves being transported into Yellowstone National in 1996.

A famous wolf, known as 06, was killed in a legal wolf hunt when she left the park’s sanctuary in 2012. Six years later 06’s daughter, known as Spitfire, wolf 926F suffered the same fate in November 2018. Today, Wolves in Yellowstone have become the “rock stars” of their species due to the hundreds of thousands of people that venture into the park hoping for a glimpse of a Yellowstone wolf. The death of 06 and other collared wolves has ignited a battle to create a buffer zone around Yellowstone National Park to protect it’s wolves because legal trophy hunts take place in Wyoming, Idaho & Montana

The Famous Alpha Wolf 06 foreground with collar. Photograph courtesy of Doug McLaughlin.

The Montana and Wyoming Legislature dismissed the idea of a buffer zone for wolves that wander outside Yellowstone, instead instating a law prohibiting such buffer zones. Today there is controversy surrounding Yellowstone National Park wolves being legally hunted in Wyoming, Montana & Idaho when they wander from the sanctuary of park.

The following is Linda Thurston’s dialogue from Meet the Advocates Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Film Project 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.”

Watch the Pitch Trailer

This November we remember Spitfire.

Stiamo raccogliendo le serie Italian Stories of Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy e speriamo di iniziare le riprese nel 2021.

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin films, LLC (WODCW) ha una pagina dedicata ai nostri lettori italiani. WODCW ha diversi progetti cinematografici nelle opere e nella produzione. abbiamo la storia di Yellowstone in produzione

Guarda Inside of the Heart of Wolf Advocacy — The Yellowstone Story Trailer

Stiamo raccogliendo le serie Italian Stories of Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy e speriamo di iniziare le riprese nel 2021.

The Italian Story of Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy, ovvero La Storia Italiana di “Nel Cuore di Chi Ha a Cuore i Lupi” è una pagina nata per presentare il progetto di Rachel Tilseth, ambientalista, artista e scrittrice, nonché fondatrice del blog http://wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com . Rachel da anni è impegnata attivamente nella difesa e conservazione del lupo grigio nel suo Stato e, a tal fine, ha organizzato eventi, proiezioni e un film festival dedicato ai lupi. Attualmente si sta occupando anche della produzione e della regia del documentario intitolato “Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story” dove le persone che lavorano nel e per il Parco di Yellowstone, occupandosi specificatamente di lupi, raccontano la loro storia e le motivazioni profonde che le hanno spinte ad appassionarsi a questi animali così affascinanti e preziosi per l’ecosistema. Da qui l’idea di realizzare successivamente un progetto simile, dedicato alle varie figure di studiosi e appassionati di lupi in Italia, anche grazie all’amicizia e all’empatia che ci lega da alcuni anni, nonostante le distanze. Questa pagina è gestita da Rachel Tiselth, da Antonio Iannibelli e da Brunella Pernigotti. Questi ultimi si occupano di inserire, organizzare e moderare i contenuti italiani che verranno via via pubblicati, in preparazione delle riprese del film che inizieranno in Italia nel 2021.

Brunella Pernigotti, oltre ad essere insegnante, traduttrice e scrittrice, è un’appassionata di lupi e della natura in generale. Da autodidatta tramite lo studio e l’approfondimento della conoscenza, si dedica alla protezione dell’ambiente e delle specie a rischio di estinzione, condividendo i principi fondamentali promossi dai più grandi ambientalisti e ricercatori, cioè la conservazione compassionevole e l’astensione da ogni violenza verbale e fisica contro uomini e animali.

Antonio Iannibelli fotografo naturalista, wolf blogger e scrittore di natura. Ha fondato l’Associazione culturale Provediemozioni.it che si occupa di fotografia ed educazione ambientale. Ideatore della Festa del lupo e del portale di ricerca naturalistica www.italianwildwolf.it, incentrati sul lupo selvatico italiano (Canis lupus italicus). Antonio è un naturalista che ha studiato sul campo, da tanti anni osserva e documenta la presenza del lupo in Italia. Ama far conoscere l’importanza del RUOLO NATURALE, convinto che solo la conoscenza autentica del predatore possa salvarlo.

Per informazioni e per richiedere il suo libro “Un cuore tra i lupi” (distribuito gratuitamente) scrivi a: fotografo.iannibelli@gmail.com

Altre info nel suo blog: http://antonioiannibelli.it/

Although the caribou feeds the wolf, it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong.

The Wolf and the Caribou-myth and legend has more truth to it today than ever before! In this time of mass extinction we must heed the wisdom of indigenous peoples.

The Inuit, the people of the North, take a different view of the wolf than western cultures.

The Inuit have their own idea of why the wolf was created. In the beginning, the Inuit creation story tell, there was a man and a woman, nothing else on the Earth walked or swam or flew. So the woman dug a big hole in the ground and she started fishing in it. She pulled out all of the animals. The last animal she pulled out was the caribou. The woman set the caribou free and ordered it to multiply. Soon the land was full of caribou, and the people lived well and they were happy. But the hunters only killed those caribou that were big and strong. Soon all that was left were the weak and the sick, and the people began to starve. The woman had to make magic again, and this time she called Amorak, the spirit of the wolf, to winnow out the weak and the sick, so that the herd would once again be strong. The people realized that the caribou and the wolf were one, for although the caribou feeds the wolf, it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong.” ~Inuit Creation Story

Photograph of caribou by John E Marriott

The people realized that the caribou and the wolf were one, for although the caribou feeds the wolf, it is the wolf that keeps the caribou strong.”

Wolf In Snow Shoshone NF Amy Gerber In Snow Shoshone NF

The Yellowstone Story Film Project

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story

The following is Linda Thurston’s dialogue from Meet the Advocates Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Film Project 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.”

Watch the Pitch Trailer

Director Statement by Rachel Tilseth “The Vision”

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.

Thousands of people in vehicles line the roads in Yellowstone National Park hoping for a glimpse of a wild wolf. People are everywhere, dozens at a time, searching through spotting scopes for wolves. One of these wolf watchers is advocate Ilona Popper, whose passion for wolves can be clearly heard in her voice. We introduce the viewer to ilona Popper as she sets up her spotting scope in Lamar Valley home to one of Yellowstone’s beloved wolf packs. As Ilona speaks you can hear the urgency in her voice because it’s September and the Montana wolf hunt is just around the corner. She recounts the tragic story of a famous alpha female wolf that was killed by a wolf hunter after she left the sanctuary of the park.

Time lapses will introduce the viewer to the ever changing weather that wolves face in Yellowstone. Drones are not allowed in the park boundaries but aerial footage will, along with the time lapses, give a perspective of the immensity of the park landscapes.

We introduce the viewer to Dr. Nathan Varley as he hikes in the picturesque landscape that is Yellowstone in winter, and is set at the Buffalo Ranch situated near the Lamar river. Dr. Varley is on a hike with wolf watcher clients where he explains the history of Yellowstone’s wolf reintroduction. Throughout the year, Dr. Varley along with his wolf tourism business partner and wife Linda Thurston, take their clients into the park every morning.

We introduce you to Marc Cooke President of Wolves of the Rockies during a spring snow storm and within view of the famous northern gate of Yellowstone. The viewer will see herds of bison, elk and antelope in spring time grazing on the moist green grasses as Marc talks about the famous 06 wolf of Lamar Valley pack. I will introduce the viewer to cell phone audio of the Lamar Valley wolf packs’ hauntingly mournful howls, that was recorded at the very same spot where their family member was killed by a wolf hunter just outside of the park.

I will introduce the viewer to Yellowstone’s wolf watcher community; then you will watch them as they move from one pull out to the next counting wolves. You’ll hear engine noise from above as the head Yellowstone Wolf Project staff Dr. Doug Smith flies about counting wolves. The viewer will meet Yellowstone Wolf Project staff Kira Cassidy as she talks about wolf pack dynamics, recounting observations of one wolf pack’s struggle for survival, against the back drop of the Yellowstone River in Winter.

Film Treatment “The Story”

This documentary tells the story of advocates working to preserve the legacy of Yellowstone National Park wolves that face an uncertain future because of legal wolf hunts just beyond the park’s border. A famous wolf, known as 06, was killed in a legal wolf hunt when she left the park’s sanctuary in 2012. Six years later 06’s daughter, known as Spitfire, wolf 926F suffered the same fate in November 2018. Today, Wolves in Yellowstone have become the “rock stars” of their species due to the hundreds of thousands of people that venture into the park hoping for a glimpse of a Yellowstone wolf. The death of 06 and other collared wolves has ignited a battle to create a buffer zone around Yellowstone National Park to protect it’s wolves because legal trophy hunts take place in Wyoming, Idaho & Montana. The film is set in our nation’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. By 1926, as a result of federal and state predator control efforts, gray wolves (Canis lupus) were officially extirpated from Yellowstone National Park. Northern Rocky Mountain wolves were eventually listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973.

With ESA listing came the goal of restoring wolves to their historic range, and in 1995 and 1996, following many years of public planning and input, a total of 31 wolves, captured in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, were reintroduced to Yellowstone. Wolves flourished amidst Yellowstone’s abundant prey and expansive, protected wilderness.

The first wolf arrives in Yellowstone at the Crystal Bench Pen (Mike Phillips-YNP Wolf Project Leader, Jim Evanoff-YNP, Molly Beattie- USFWS Director, Mike Finley-YNP Superintendent, Bruce Babbitt-Secretary of Interior) JIM PEACO (CC-BY-2.0)

The Montana and Wyoming Legislature dismissed the idea of a buffer zone for wolves that wander outside Yellowstone, instead instating a law prohibiting such buffer zones. The film takes viewers through the controversy surrounding Yellowstone National Park wolves being legally hunted in Wyoming, Montana & Idaho when they wander from the sanctuary of park. The film takes you into the advocates lives, why they advocate, the work they do, and how the advocate’s work will preserve the legacy of Yellowstone Park wolves.

MEET THE ADVOCATES

Advocate Dr. Nathan Varley, Ph.D. in Ecology from the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Alberta. His research focused on the relationship between wolves and elk after wolf reintroduction. Dr. Varley, a businessman co-owner of Yellowstone Wolf Tracker tours in Gardiner, Montana, has taken scores of hopeful wolf-watchers to see the Lamar Canyon pack, and says that the majority of his company’s $500,000 gross income comes from tourists like these “I estimate that a half-million people saw 754,” he said. “It was one of the million dollar wolves that was taken out of the population.” Quoted from NYT article: Research Animals Lost in Wolf Hunts Near Yellowstone by Nate Schweber 11/28/2012

Advocate Linda Thurston, Co Owner of Yellowstone Wolf Tracker tours in Gardiner, Montana. Thurston began working on the Yellowstone Wolf Project in 1996, during the early years of the wolf reintroduction. She headed up the first denning behavior study on wolves in Yellowstone Park, and received her master’s degree in wildlife biology from Texas A&M while doing so. Thurston and Dr. Varley through their business focus on teaching people about the behavior, ecology and management of wolves in and around Yellowstone Park for the past 14 years. Both Thurston and Dr. Varley are active in wolf conservation issues through Bear Creek Council, a grassroots organization that works to protect wolves and other wildlife just outside the boundary of Yellowstone Park.

Advocate Mark Cooke

Advocate Marc Cooke is founder of Wolves of the Rockies (WOTR) who’s mission is; to Protect & Defend Wolves of the Rocky Mountains through advocating and education. WOTR gathers wolf advocates from around the world to consolidate our voices into a force that will influence the protection and acceptance of wolves in the Rocky Mountain Region. Educating people with facts about wolves, and wolf behavior to counter the negative image created by commercial interest groups, fictional entertainment and extremism.

Advocate Ilona Popper

Advocate Ilona Popper has a M.A. English Language and Literature, University of Virginia and has worked for 40 years as an editor, writing coach, and teacher. Ilona has worked intensively on preserving wolves in the YNP area and in Montana. She helped establish and served as chair for the Bear Creek Council Wolf Committee and was invited to sit on Finding Common Ground, a council called by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to bring together wildlife advocates and environmentalists with sportspeople and livestock producers. The participants were often at odds, especially about wolves, but she saw that “each person shared a love of wildlife and nature.”

The film will also introduce the viewer to Yellowstone Wolf Project staff. Douglas W. Smith, senior wildlife biologist for Yellowstone Wolf Project. Kira Cassidy, Kira holds her M.S. degree from the University of Minnesota, with projects focusing on territoriality and aggression between packs of gray wolves. Now working as a Research Associate for the Yellowstone Wolf Project. Rick McIntyre has served as a seasonal park ranger at such sites as Yellowstone, Denali, Glacier, and Big Bend national parks. His books include War Against the Wolf: America’s Campaign to Exterminate the Wolf (Voyageur Press) and Grizzly Cub: Five Years in the Life of a Bear.

Watch a Yellowstone National Park video of Yellowstone Wolf Project Researcher Kira Cassidy as she watches the alpha female wolf 926F chasing an elk.

Poster design by Any Reich

Producers Maaike Middleton and Rachel Tilseth

Director Rachel Tilseth

A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film, LLC

Visit Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story’s Facebook Page Here for all Updates

Inside of the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story

Producer

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.

Producer and Director

Filmmaker Rachel Tilseth Tracking Wisconsin’s Gray wolf in 2017.

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 Festival 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 recovery program. 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, 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.

The Trailer

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Presents

A Film Produced by Maaike Middleton Rachel Tilseth

Song “Don’t Know Why, But They Do”

Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti Noah Hill

Edited by Maaike Middleton

Cinematography by Maaike Middleton

Directed by Rachel Tilseth

B Roll National Park Service

Graphic Design Andy Reich

Advocates Ilona Popper

Nathan Varley

Linda Thurston

Marc Cooke

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Advocates Linda Thurston & Nathan Varley business owners at www.wolftracker.com We advocate emphatically for the wildlife upon which our business depends. Unlike a lot of businesses in our industry that stay quiet and sit on their hands, we show up to speak out on controversial wildlife issues. We are not afraid to stick up for wolves, bison, and bears when they need a voice. As leaders in Bear Creek Council, an all-volunteer, local grassroots group, we dedicate our effort to wise stewardship in our area. We fight mine proposals that threaten Yellowstone’s habitat and water quality. We fight trophy hunters that want to shoot wolves and grizzly bears along park borders. We fight for the next generation and their right to experience the same wild Yellowstone we know and love.

A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film, 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.

“Look Into My Eyes” Debut Music Video by Jytte Fredholm Ferreira, Artist with A Passion for Wildlife

Together with two American Musicians Rich Harper and Jake Hill, Jytte Fredholm Ferreira composed and produced her first song “Look Into My Eyes”

Music has got the capability to touch the hearts of people in a unique and emotional way. ~Jytte Fredholm Ferreira

Jytte Fredholm Ferreira

Jytte Fredholm Ferreira is a professional Wildlife Photographer, Interspecies Communicator, Anti-Poaching Ranger, Tracker, speaker and writer. She is based in South Africa but spends much of her time in the bush on photographic expeditions and has travelled extensively in southern and Central Africa over the past 25 years.

Jytte Fredholm Ferreira’s website www.jyttefredholmferreira.com

She is deeply involved in conservation and has won the prestigious award from SKÅL International for media and Conservation, for ten years she held the office as Director of Conservation and Education for SA’n White Shark research institute where she was active both locally and internationally in the conservation of Sharks and the Marine environment.

Photograph credit Jytte Fredholm Ferreira. Photograph courtesy of Jytte Fredholm Ferreira.

She writes for Africa Geographic and various other media. She has been featured in a number of documentaries by Discovery channel, Animal Planet, Kika network and SVT (Swedish Television). Jytte works intensely to create better understanding and awareness surrounding the plight of both Animals and Nature. In 2017 Jytte and her family also partook in the very popular program for Swedish television “familjer på äventyr” that showed as a series of 6 episodes. During the summer of 2017 Jytte was also a “Sommar pratare”on Sveriges radio

Jytte is an Expert Tracker and has undergone her tracking education and trained with Conny Andersson (Trained with Apache Indians) founder of Tracker School Sweden. Conny Andersson is considered to be one Europe’s absolute best and most skillful trackers practicing the art of Apache Tracking one of the world’s most ancient and advanced arts in tracking.

Tracking is an amazing way of getting closer to nature and its inhabitants. When we learn to read the signs in nature such as spoor on the ground, smells, sounds, silence, it is like opening a book filled with vital and highly interesting information. It connects us to what is happening around us while searching for the meaning, connection and coherency in all the presenting clues.

Jytte Fredholm Ferreira photographing a bull elephant. Photograph courtesy of Jytte Fredholm Ferreira.

We strive to combine the heightened awareness of all our senses, and as we become acutely aware of signs and movements, or stillness we begin to build a picture and a story which in turn, becomes clearer the more we explore the environment surrounding us.

“We tune into Mother Nature and with all our senses we become aware of another world that might have otherwise passed us by”

Inter-species communication.

Communication is about exchanging information with another being. We do it all the time and in many different ways such as with language, sounds, body language and we send out and receive communication in form of energy/electro magnetic waves.

An intricate science on its own, but in brief, every thought, feeling and intention carries a physical energy that takes on its own frequency, this has been beautifully exposed through quantum physics. As beings we are picking up these frequencies all the time from other fellow beings both humans and animals, sometimes we are aware of them and sometimes not. To successfully communicate with animals, it is essential to access a quiet inner space and to listen beyond the 5 senses. I would say that the most important aspects are, that of intention, love and acceptance. *more to read about this on my website www.jyttefredholmferreira.com

Anti-Poaching

Jytte is a licensed APU (Anti-Poaching Unit) ranger belonging to the International Ranger Federation and the European Ranger Federation as well as APU Sweden.

Photograph courtesy of Jytte Fredholm Ferreira

She does anti poaching work in both Africa and Sweden.

Ambassador for the perfect world foundation

Jytte is also a proud ambassador for the “Perfect world foundation” where she shares her appointment with fellow ambassadors like Dr. Jane Goodall, Sarah, Duchess of York, Keith Richardson & Dr. Richard Leakey to name a few.

Music as a means to reach out…

Together with two American Musicians Rich Harper and Jake Hill, Jytte Fredholm Ferreira composed and produced her first song “Look Into My Eyes”

Through music Jytte has found an additional channel of communication where she can reach out to various audience with her message for conservation.

Music is an amazing medium to reach out to the public as 1 song can be played 100, 1000, 100 000, 1.000 000 of times unlimited times. Music has got the capability to touch the hearts of people in a unique and emotional way. Coupled with a music video the messages can be transferred strong, clear and passionate, and has the possibility to be shared, viewed and enjoyed by countless people.

Together with two American Musicians Rich Harper and Jake Hill, she has composed and produced her first song “Look Into My Eyes” (in a string of many to come hopefully)

Photograph credit Jytte Fredholm Ferreira. Photograph courtesy of Jytte Fredholm Ferreira.

Jytte Fredholm Ferreira’s website www.jyttefredholmferreira.com

Jytte Fredholm Ferreira. Photograph courtesy of Jytte Fredholm Ferreira.

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy —Yellowstone Story Film Project…

The following is Linda Thurston’s dialogue from Meet the Advocates Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Film Project:

“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.”

 

To learn more about Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story Film Project click here.

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Films, LLC www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com

Wisconsin’s Attorney General Joins Lawsuit Challenging Trump Administration’s Rollback of the Endangered Species Act

AG Kaul Joins Lawsuit Challenging Rollback of Endangered Species Act Regulations

Oct 22 2019

MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul is joining a coalition of now 20 attorneys general and the City of New York in a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s rollback of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The challenge argues that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service’s decisions to finalize three rules that undermine the key requirements and purpose of the Endangered Species Act are unlawful.

“The Trump administration’s decision to adopt rules weakening the Endangered Species Act is unwarranted and unlawful. As the effects of climate change put more species at risk, we should be strengthening our conservation efforts, not undermining them,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Nixon signs into law Endangered Species Act, Dec. 28, 1973

For over 45 years, the Endangered Species Act has protected thousands of iconic and threatened species, including the bald eagle and whooping crane. Enacted under the Nixon Administration in 1973, the ESA is intended “to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.” The Trump Administration’s rules would dramatically weaken current protections and reduce federal Endangered Species Act enforcement and consultation, putting these endangered species and their habitats at risk of extinction.

In Wisconsin, there are more than 20 species listed as endangered or threatened under the Act.

A Wisconsin Gray wolf. Photograph from Snapshot Wisconsin.

In the lawsuit, the coalition challenges the rules as arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act, unauthorized under the Endangered Species Act, and unlawful under the National Environmental Policy Act. Of specific concern are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service actions to:

Inject economic considerations into the Endangered Species Act’s science-driven, species-focused analyses;

Restrict the circumstances under which species can be listed as threatened;

Expand the Act’s narrow exemptions for designating critical habitats and limit the circumstances under which a habitat would be designated, especially where climate change poses a threat;

Reduce consultation and analyses required before federal agency action;

Radically depart from the longstanding, conservation-based agency policy and practice of providing the same level of protection to threatened species afforded to endangered species, which is necessary to prevent a species from becoming endangered;

Push the responsibility for protecting imperiled species and habitats onto the state, detracting from the states’ efforts to carry out their own programs and imposing significant costs; and

Exclude analysis of and public input on the rules’ significant environmental impacts.

Relevant court findings click here.

STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, STATE OF MARYLAND, STATE OF COLORADO, STATE OF CONNECTICUT, STATE OF ILLINOIS, PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, STATE OF MINNESOTA, STATE OF NEVADA, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, STATE OF NEW MEXICO, STATE OF NEW YORK, STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, STATE OF OREGON, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE OF RHODE ISLAND, STATE OF VERMONT, STATE OF WASHINGTON, STATE OF WISCONSIN, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, and CITY OF NEW YORK,

Plaintiffs,

V.

DAVID BERNHARDT, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, WILBUR ROSS, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, and NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE,

Defendants,

KILLING GAMES: Wildlife in the Crosshairs chosen as “Best Interpretation of a Conservation Theme” from Conserve Sauk Film Festival

Conserve Sauk Film Festival will be held on Saturday, November 9, 2019 from 2:00 until 9:00 at UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Tickets are FREE and will be available at the ticket booth on November 9 beginning at 2:00 PM.

KILLING GAMES: Wildlife in the Crosshairs chosen as “Best Interpretation of a Conservation Theme” from 2019 Conserve Sauk Film Festival

On any given weekend, some of America’s most iconic wild animals are massacred in wildlife killing contests. Bloodied bodies are weighed and stacked like cords of wood, and prizes are awarded to the “hunters” who kill the largest or the most of a targeted species. Coyotes, bobcats, wolves and foxes are common victims of these contests; children as young as 10 are encouraged to participate. Fueled by anti-predator bias, these legally sanctioned but relatively unknown contests are cruel and foster ignorance about the critical role apex predators play in maintaining healthy ecosystems. These contests occur on both public and private lands in almost every state except California — where killing predators for prizes has been outlawed. In KILLING GAMES, a groundbreaking exposé, actor, conservationist and Project Coyote Advisory Board Member Peter Coyote — with environmentalists, ranchers, public officials and Native Americans — brings these shadowy contests to light and speaks out against this hidden war on wildlife. Project Coyote’s KILLING GAMES inspires viewers to call on their state and local legislators to bring an end to these brutal contests where wild animals become living targets. For more information click here

The Conserve Sauk Film Festival will include screenings of prestigious feature-length films, and finalists from the Conserve Sauk competition. The event will also include facilitated discussions on the films and their themes. There will be local food and beverage vendors. Local organizations will share information about conservation efforts and opportunities for involvement.

Conserve Sauk Film Festival will educate attendees and participants about important resources, environmental challenges we face, best management practices that can be implemented on farms or in our own yards, and lessons we can draw from significant environmental history or historical figures. We hope to inspire creative thought, discussion, and potential solutions to these challenges.

Conserve Sauk Film Festival Philosophy

Through this festival we will better understand and appreciate the natural beauty and resources of the area, celebrate our conservation successes, reflect upon our relationship to the environment, address challenges that we face, consider how we can be part of the solution, and connect as a county and a community over our shared world.

Conserve Sauk Film Festival concept of community includes the land itself. As Aldo Leopold, one of the many conservation figures to leave his mark on Sauk County, said, “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

Conserve Sauk Film Festival invite you to be a part of this project and celebrate the beauty and conservation legacy and future of Sauk County.