Montana Wolf Hunts are Taking Place Right Now…

Last November, 2018, we remember the tragedy of Spitfire, the daughter of the famous wolf 06, was shot just outside of Yellowstone National Park’s boundary. Inside of the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story Film Project obtained cell phone audio of Spitfire’s family members.

“Listening to the mournful calls from Little T, Small Dot and the five pups that they made while searching for 926F, their lost family member, leaves no doubt in my mind and heart that they feel strong family bonds. There must be a way to protect YNP wolves that wonder outside the park boundary.” Rachel Tilseth, Director and Producer Of The Yellowstone Story Film Project.

Listen to the cell phone audio here

It’s almost a year since she was shot just outside of Yellowstone National Park. The head biologist of the Yellowstone Wolf Project stated: “Wolf hunters talk about seeing a pack of park wolves outside the boundary and being able to pick the one they want,” said Doug Smith, the park’s wolf biologist. “They just stand there and have no fear.”

Spitfire, or 926F, was killed just a few miles outside the park in Montana near the northeast entrance to the park, between the tiny communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, Mont.

She left behind a daughter that wolf watchers have named Little T, so-called because of a small white marking. Another wolf, Small Dot, is the male, and for the first time in three years a litter of five pups was born to the Lamar Canyon pack.

With the matriarch gone, Dr. Smith said, the famed pack could be in trouble. Even though the breeding pack is intact, its seven-member size may not be as resilient as bigger groups. “Its survival is an open question,” he said.” New York Times article November 2018

Wolf 926F Photo credit by Vanessa Vought

Meet the Advocates: Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Film Project

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.

Click here to donate to this film project

Our film is in production. Watch the following teaser “Meet the Advocates”

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 Kira Cassidy watching the alpha female wolf 926F as she chases an elk click the link: https://youtu.be/n_LkLFt3uYc


Click here to donate to this film project

Poster design by Any Reich

Producers Maaike Middleton and Rachel Tilseth

Director Rachel Tilseth

A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film

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

Rachel Tilseth is a freelance writer, fine artist, filmmaker and environmentalist. Tilseth has been a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Winter Wolf Tracker since the year 2000. Tilseth worked with the Wisconsin Wolf Recovery Program as a volunteer since 1998, and as a result learned about the lives of wild gray wolves. Tilseth worked to draw attention to the plight of Gray wolves during the three years Wisconsin held wolf hunts. As an environmentalist Tilseth has organized events, film screenings and a film festival. Tilseth is the Producer and Director of Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy: The Yellowstone Story currently in production. Rachel Tilseth received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education in 1992 from UW-Stout, graduating with cum laude honors.

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

Wolves of Douglas County WI Films LLC

Click here to donate to this film project

Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy—The Yellowstone Story Advocates Linda Thurston & Nathan Varley business owners at http://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.

Gray Wolves are at Risk of Loosing Federal Protection…

Please take action for America’s Gray wolf…

From D.C. to Yellowstone National Park’s Montana boundary the Gray wolf has been persecuted. Delisting Legislation is being considered in the senate (already passed by the House) that would remove gray wolves from the lower 48 and take away any judicial review. And return wolf management back into the individual states hands. States such as Wisconsin that quite literally throws dogs to wolves in a state sanctioned trophy hunt. It’s legal in Wisconsin to use dogs to hunt wolves.

Paying the price for our love out of Yellowstone’s Montana boundary “Spitfire” wolf 926F, daughter of famed O-Six was killed as part of Montana’s wolf trophy hunt; shot as she left the safety of YNP. Park wolves are at even great risk when the leave the protection of YNP because they are used to being viewed by park tourists. 926F leaves behind her daughter Little T, along with five vulnerable pups of the YNP Lamar’s Pack. It’s a tough world if you’re a gray wolf in America. Trophy hunters are chomping at the bit to get them in their sights; along with land grabbing special interests that want gray wolves out of the way. The ESA protects both the animals & their habitats they depend on for survival.

Contact your senator now and tell them to say NO to any wolf delisting bills or riders! 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 want.

Wolf photo from 2016 of the then 11-year-old alpha male of the Yellowstone NP Canyon pack – Neal Herbert-NPS

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A film project about advocates working to protect wolves…

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story”

A film that presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunting taking place just beyond the park’s borders.

Yellowstone’s wolves face trophy hunters ready to kill them as soon as they step across park boundaries. Meet the wolf advocates fighting for the legacy of Yellowstone’s wolves…

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Produced by Rachel Tilseth and Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. In this clip wolf advocates share their stories. Ilona Popper is a writer and advocate for wolves. Dr. Nathan Varley and Linda Thurston Wildlife biologists and business owners of The Wild Side Tours & Treks in Yellowstone National Park. Song credits: “Don’t Know Why, But They Do” Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti & Noah Hill. B roll credits thanks to National Park Service. www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com for more information.

To support the film through a tax free contribution go to https://www.planb.foundation/CustomDonation/204/film-donation

Watch our pitch trailer

https://vimeo.com/264686221

Mournful Calls of the Lamar Canyon Wolves Calling for Their Lost Family Member…

Listening to the mournful calls from Little T, Small Dot and the five pups made while searching for 926F, their lost family member, leaves no doubt in my mind or my heart that they feel strong family bonds. There must be a way to protect YNP wolves that wonder outside the park boundary. Meet the Advocates and listen to their mournful cries, trailer:

In An article from The New York Times “Wolf hunters talk about seeing a pack of park wolves outside the boundary and being able to pick the one they want,” said Doug Smith, the park’s wolf biologist. “They just stand there and have no fear.”

Spitfire, or 926F, was killed just a few miles outside the park in Montana near the northeast entrance to the park, between the tiny communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, Mont.

She left behind a daughter that wolf watchers have named Little T, so-called because of a small white marking. Another wolf, Small Dot, is the male, and for the first time in three years a litter of five pups was born to the Lamar Canyon pack. 

With the matriarch gone, Dr. Smith said, the famed pack could be in trouble. Even though the breeding pack is intact, its seven-member size may not be as resilient as bigger groups. “Its survival is an open question,” he said.

Photograph of Lamar Canyon Wolf 926F known as “Spitfire” and shot by a trophy hunter in Montana, credit Vanessa Vought

Myself along with Maaike Middleton are working on a Film Project “Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story” and are gathering interviews from advocates affected by the recent killing of a beloved wolf.

Watch trailer

https://vimeo.com/264686221

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy-The Yellowstone Story”

A film that presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunting taking place just beyond the park’s borders.

Yellowstone’s wolves face trophy hunters ready to kill them as soon as they step across park boundaries. Meet the wolf advocates fighting for the legacy of Yellowstone’s wolves…

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Produced by Rachel Tilseth and Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth. In this clip wolf advocates share their stories. Ilona Popper is a writer and advocate for wolves. Dr. Nathan Varley and Linda Thurston Wildlife biologists and business owners of The Wild Side Tours & Treks in Yellowstone National Park. Song credits: “Don’t Know Why, But They Do” Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti & Noah Hill. B roll credits thanks to National Park Service. www.wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com for more information. To support the film through a tax free contribution go through our fiscal sponsor click here to donate.

Photograph of Lamar Canyon Wolf 926F known as “Spitfire” and shot by a trophy hunter in Montana, credit Vanessa Vought

Sad news coming out of Yellowstone National Park 926F was shot in Montana’s wolf trophy hunt…

Wolf 926F of the Lamar Canyon Pack was the daughter of the famous O-Six wolf that was also killed by a trophy hunter as she left the safety of YNP boundary. Thanks to the heartless trophy hunter 926F joins her mother in the spirit world cut down far too soon. Trophy hunting is about power not conservation. Let’s all reach out to our members in Congress (Capital Switchboard 202-224-3121) and express our sadness and let them know you are one of hundreds of thousands of us, that will not tolerate this senseless killing of a legend. Nor any other gray wolf in America! RIP 926F…

926F is the daughter of the famous O-Six female  (legally shot outside of the park in 2012 By a trophy hunter) who was the grand-daughter of the Druid Peak alpha pair 21M and 42F.

Photograph of Wolf 926F Photo credit by Vanessa Vought

Protections Restored & Hunts on Grizzly Bears Blocked

Video clip from Bradley Orsted

Featured image Bradley Orsted Horsefeathers Photography

Protections restored for grizzly bears; hunts blocked

By MATTHEW BROWN Associated Press SEPTEMBER 25, 2018 — 12:55AM

BILLINGS, Mont. — A U.S. judge ordered federal protections restored for grizzly bears in the Northern Rocky Mountains on Monday, a move that blocks the first grizzly hunts planned in the Lower 48 states in almost three decades.

Wyoming and Idaho had been on the cusp of allowing hunters to kill up to 23 bears this fall. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen had twice delayed the hunts, and the latest order blocking them was due to expire later this week. The hunts would have been the first in U.S. outside Alaska since 1991.

Christensen wrote in his ruling that the case was “not about the ethics of hunting.” Rather, he said, it was about whether federal officials adequately considered threats to the species’ long-term recovery when they lifted protections for more than 700 bears living around Yellowstone National Park.

In the judge’s view, the answer was no.

He noted that an estimated 50,000 bears once roamed the contiguous U.S. and said it would be “simplistic at best and disingenuous at worst” not to consider the status of grizzlies outside the Yellowstone region, one of the few areas where they have bounced back.

State and federal officials reacted with disappointment. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said the ruling provided further evidence of flaws in the Endangered Species Act and the need for Congress to make changes.

“Grizzly bear recovery should be viewed as a conservation success story,” Mead said in a statement.

A bid to remove protections for the region’s gray wolves ran into similar legal problems last decade. In that case, Congress intervened in 2011 to strip safeguards from the animals through legislation, opening the way to public wolf hunts.

Pressure to lift protections on bears and allow hunting has increased in recent years as the number of conflicts between bears and people increased. Most of those conflicts involve attacks on livestock but occasionally bears attack people, such as a Wyoming hunting guide killed earlier this month by a pair of grizzly bears.

The ruling marks a victory for wildlife advocates and Native American tribes that sued when the Interior Department last year revoked federal protections. They argued that the animals face continued threats from climate change and loss of habitat.

Tim Preso, an attorney with EarthJustice who represented many of the plaintiffs, said Christensen’s ruling made clear that the government had moved too hastily to remove protections because bears are absent from much of their historical range.

“Putting the blinders on to everything other than Yellowstone grizzlies was illegal,” he said. “We tried to get them to put on the brakes, but they refused to do that.”

Hunting and agriculture groups and the National Rifle Association had intervened in the case seeking to keep management of grizzlies under state control.

Restoring protections will allow the grizzly population to grow unchecked, “endangering the lives and livelihoods of westerners who settled the region long ago,” said Cody Wisniewski, representing the Wyoming Farm Bureau.

The grizzlies living in and around Yellowstone were classified as a threatened species in 1975 after most bears had been killed off early last century and the population was down to just 136 animals.

Government biologists contend Yellowstone’s grizzlies are now thriving, have adapted to changes in their diet and are among the best-managed bears in the world.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Jennifer Strickland said the agency was reviewing Monday’s ruling but stood behind its decision to lift protections.

The agency initially declared a successful recovery for the Yellowstone population in 2007, but a federal judge ordered protections to remain while wildlife officials studied whether the decline of a major food source — whitebark pine seeds — could threaten the bears’ survival.

The Fish and Wildlife Service concluded last year it had addressed that and all other threats and said the grizzlies were no longer a threatened species requiring restrictive federal protections for them and their habitat.

That decision turned management of the bears over to the states, which agreed on a plan that set hunting quotas based on the number of deaths each year to ensure the population stays above 600 animals.

The federal agency has been moving toward lifting federal protections for another group of about 1,000 bears living in Montana’s Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness, but it first wanted to see how Christensen ruled on the Yellowstone case.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Matthew Bishop with the Western Environmental Law Center said the agency should reconsider those plans in light of Christensen’s ruling.

“The idea of recovering grizzly bears in the Lower 48 should still be on the table. They shouldn’t get away with this piecemeal delisting approach,” Bishop said.

~~~

Bradley Orsted of Horsefeather Photography posted on his Facebook page the following:

THANK YOU again to everyone who stood up for grizzly bears including Judge Christensen. It took a grizzly nation of tribes, scientists, advocates, artists and everyone who cares to make this happen. Never underestimate the power of our Grizzly Nation! #savetheyellowstonegrizzly #grizzlybearsforever #shootemwithacamera #relisted #horsefeathersphotography

Four Gray Wolf Pups Found Dead in Wyoming…

…You have to wonder why a law in Wyoming prohibits releasing the names of wolf poachers; Is it because millions of people worldwide respect the role the Gray wolf plays on keeping ecosystems healthy.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities are releasing few details about four wolf pups that were found dead on public land south of Jackson.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Mark Gocke could give no more details other than saying the pups were reported dead Thursday within Game and Fish’s “trophy game” wolf hunting area, where there are defined seasons and rules on killing wolves.

A Wyoming law prohibits wildlife managers from identifying anyone who legally kills a wolf — or releasing information that could lead to their identity being revealed.

The four wolf pups were born this year, so they would have been about 4 or 5 months old. They were taken to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory in Laramie for necropsies.

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Yellowstone’s wolves face trophy hunters ready to kill them as soon as they step across park boundaries. Meet the wolf advocates fighting for the legacy of Yellowstone’s wolves…

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” tells the stories of people working to preserve the legacy of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. A Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin Film. Produced by Rachel Tilseth and Maaike Middleton and Directed by Rachel Tilseth.

In this clip wolf advocates share their stories. Ilona Popper is a writer and advocate for wolves. Dr. Nathan Varley and Linda Thurston Wildlife biologists and business owners of The Wild Side Tours & Treks in Yellowstone National Park. Song credits: “Don’t Know Why, But They Do” Words & Music by Joe De Benedetti & Noah Hill. B roll credits thanks to National Park Service.

https://vimeo.com/264686221

“Inside the Heart of Wolf Advocacy- The Yellowstone Story” a film that presents the viewer with a complete picture of what it means to advocate for an imperiled species protected within Yellowstone National Park; contrasted against an uncertain future because of wolf hunting taking place just beyond the park’s borders.

About the producers

Maaike Middleton Co Producer

M.A Documentary by Practice, University of London – Royal Holloway. Graduated with Merit  B.A Media & Theatre Arts, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, Graduated Cum Laude. Raised in the Paradise Valley, schooled in London, traveled to 25+ countries, rooted in the Montana wilds. Growing up in Paradise Valley all I wanted to do was travel and see the world. After getting my BA in Filmmaking from Montana State University I did just that. I traveled to some amazing places, from the wild Gobi dessert in Mongolia to the temples of Angor Wat in Cambodia to the hustle and bustle of London where I received a Masters in Documentary filmmaking from the University of London. Returning to Paradise Valley to document the beauty that surrounds me daily. My passport ever ready for the next international adventure and hiking boots ready to explore the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Rachel Tilseth Co Producer and Director

Rachel holds a Batchelor of Science Degree in Art Education and is a retired art teacher. Tilseth’s interests in nature, specifically wolves, led her to advocate for wolves and wildlife. In the year 2000 she became involved in WI DNR Wolf Recovery Program working as a volunteer winter wolf tracker to present. She founded the blog and social media network Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin to bring education and awareness to Wisconsin’s wild wolf. Tilseth has spent several years speaking out against wolf trophy hunts. Tilseth is active in working to ban Wolf Hounding in Wisconsin. She has a strong background in the visual arts. She’s a sculptor and oil painter. Tilseth has expanded her interest into filmmaking. She’s currently in the process of creating a documentary film about the heart of wolf advocacy.