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: http://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.

Action Alert: The plight of Norway’s small population of wild wolves rests in the hands of politicians 

Photograph by Kjell Erik. He took this picture while sitting in full camuflage during the deer hunt. This female wolf was killed two months later in defence of a hunting dog during the elkhunt in October.

Aga Zakoscielna and Marianne Mikalsen live and work in Norway and are both strong advocates of protecting Norway’s imperiled wolf.  I asked them to send me information on the plight of Norway’s wolf so we could educate and activate our readers. 

Norway and Sweden are sharing one wolf population that lives for the most part in Sweden (about 410 wolves in total), but has also settled in the eastern part of Norway along the Swedish border. The wolves were more or less extinct and there were no breeding couples in Norway during the 60’s-80’s. In 1973 the wolves were listed as critically endangered and have slowely made a comeback since then.

It is not the farmer nor the hunter that is the wolf’s worst enemy – it is the politician who gathers votes for his next election by changing laws on wildlife protection.

The population reached its highest peak in 2016 so in May the Norwegian Parliament set a limit of 4-6 litters per year, including the border packs with a factor of 0,5 per litter. For the purpose of conserving a viable population the politicians also set another criteria: 3 of the litters must be born in Norway, but this is regardless of wether they are born within the wolf zone or outside where they will be hunted down as soon as they are located. The wolf zone makes about 5% of Norway and its shrinkage is illustrated in this picture:

The report was published yesterday evening and allthough the figures are only preliminary they indicate that at this point in the counting/tracking period (which is from 1st October – 31st of March), we ONLY have 38 wolves living within Norway, + 38-43 wolves with territories across the Swedish Norwegian border. This makes a total of 76-83 individual wolves.

Think what would have happened if the Predator Committee had killed 24 of the wolves within the wolf zone.  We would have ended up with 14 wolves + border wolves. The goal of having 3 Norwegian litters would not have been achieved if the culling had taken Place.

The Predatory Committee wanted to cull 3 stabel reproducing packs that have done very little harm to farming animals.

 
I really hope that the politicians see the wolf pack dynamics more clearly now.
 

We are also awaiting the results from GPS marked packs, where the farmers and some of the people living in rural places, especially within two wolf territories, have claimed that the wolves have lost their fear of humans and have started to become more intrusive – this has so far not been supported by the GPS coordinates. The surveillance continues until 31st of March.
 
Since we now actually have fewer wolves than expected, and they are not showing any signs of intrusive behaviour, the Government will probably come up with wildlife law changes to satisfy the farmers eagernes to cull some of the wolves. Our Minister of Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen, will porbably come with a suggestion within 10th of March.

This is our contact information to learn more about helping wolves of Norway:

Aga and Marianne are coordinating a Ulvens Dag – The Wolf’s Day

Aga Zakoscielna 

Rasta, Norway

aga@ulvensdag.no 

mobile: +47 99 26 72 79

 

Marianne Mikalsen

Oslo,  Norway

marianne@ulvensdag.no

mobile: +47 99 22 60 80

Photography by Marianne Mikalsen


Please take action by contacting members of the Norwegian government. Here are the email addresses to some of the members of the Government:
 

The Prime Minister Erna Solberg – E-mail postmottak@smk.dep.no  
State Secretary Sigbør Aanes E-mail sa@smk.dep.no Phone +47 22 24 40 17
Minister of Finance Siv Jensen E-mail siv.jensen@fin.dep.no
State Secretary Jørgen Næsje E-mail Jorgen.Nasje@fin.dep.no Phone +47 22 24 41 14
 
 
Jan Tore Sanner, the Minister of Local Government and Modernisation
E-mail postmottak@kmd.dep.no Phone (+47) 22 24 68 00
State Secretary Grete Ellingsen E-mail grete.ellingsen@kmd.dep.no Phone: +47 22 24 68 24
 
 
Børge Brende, the Minister of Foreign Affairs
E-mail utenriksminister@mfa.no
State Secretary:E-mail elsbeth.sande.tronstad@mfa.no Phone +47 23 95 00 53

Børge Brende, the Minister of Foreign Affairs
E-mail utenriksminister@mfa.no
State Secretary:E-mail elsbeth.sande.tronstad@mfa.no Phone +47 23 95 00 53
 
 
Monica Mæland, the Ministry of Trade and Industry
E-mail postmottak@nfd.dep.no Phone +47 22 24 01 00
 
 
Vidar Helgesen, the minister of Climate and Environment
E-mail postmottak@kld.dep.no vidar.helgesen@kld.dep.no
State Secretary Lars Andreas Lunde E-mail postmottak@kld.dep.no Phone +47 22 24 57 02

Jon Georg Dale, the Minister of Agriculture and Food
E-mail postmottak@lmd.dep.no Phone 22 24 91 01
State Secretary Terje Halleland E-mail teha@lmd.dep.no Phone 22 24 91 09