The Battle for the Gray Wolf

Conservation groups went to federal court last week to convince legislators to restore endangered species safeguards for around 1,200 gray wolves in Idaho and Montana, which Congress had removed from protection. The groups believe that Congress exceeded its authority when they intervened in an ongoing court case to remove the wolves from the endangered species list without amending the underlying law–and by keeping this action from judicial review–which some believe to be a shortcut on the part of Congress.

The delisting was part of a budget bill, which President Obama signed into law in April. Government lawyers believe the delisting was an effective amendment to the Endangered Species Act, as it made a special exemption for wolf populations in the Rockies.

Thanks to this delisting, the gray wolf is the first animal ever to be taken off the endangered species list by an act of Congress rather than through the tradition process of scientific review. Environmentalists fear removing the wolf from the list could devastate wolves back to the brink of extinction.

The 1,200 Montana and Idaho wolves are under control of state wildlife agencies, who are developing “management plans” that call for the killing of hundreds of wolves, mostly through public hunting.  However, about 300 wolves in Wyoming remain under federal protection.

The delisting plan was presented to U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy as a negotiated settlement between the federal government and 10 conservation groups. Molloy, who had previously ruled against delisting, held that all the wolves involved—whether they lived in Montana, Idaho, or Wyoming–had to be managed together as a single population.

However, days later, Congress voted to override Molloy’s decision and implement the Fish and Wildlife Service’s plan. Molloy spoke out against the move, questioning its lack of judiciary review.

You can read an extensive background on these issues, with a focus on Idaho’s wolves, here.

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Introducing Lords of Nature

Lords of Nature DVD 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Green Fire Productions, as well as our environmental films, here is an introduction and trailer for Lords of Nature:  Life in a Land of Great Predators.  Check it out, and let us know what you think!

How are wolves and cougars connected to the intactness of river banks and the proliferation of trees? The award-winning film, Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators, shows the crucial role top predators play in creating and maintaining healthy ecosystems.

Green Fire filmmakers, Karen and Ralf Meyer, follow scientists Bill Ripple and Bob Beschta of Oregon State University, two leading pioneers in the quest to decipher the great predators’ role in the web of life. Their journey shows how top predators are the key drivers of the planet’s stability and diversity of life. But these discoveries have also raised the obvious question of whether and how to incorporate the big predators into societies facing conflicts and fears with their return. How can people and predators co-exist?

Watch the opening of Lords of Nature

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Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to the official blog of Green Fire Productions, producer of the award-winning film, Lords of Nature. We hope you will visit our blog regularly and join in the conversation by commenting often.

This blog will give you an inside look at what’s happening with the film, as well as with upcoming documentaries. We’ll share stories and information about the issues we work on and ways you can get involved. We have many partners and supporters who are doing excellent work in predator conservation, so we’ll touch base with them from time to time as well.

Most importantly, we’ll use this blog to tell you the story of the wolves, cougars, and other predators who are in the fight of their lives–that of survival.

Please bookmark us, tweet about us, and join us in our mission to restore biodiversity through predator conservation!

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