Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Great predators featured in documentary

Film includes footage of Phantom Hill wolf pack

Express Staff Writer

“Lords of Nature” is a documentary film about predators and society’s tolerance for them. Photo by

A free screening of the documentary film "Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators," at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum on Thursday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. is very timely. The film, presented by the Western Wolf Coalition, was made by Green Fire filmmakers Karen and Ralf Meyer.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion with a question-and-answer session, which will include Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife Suzanne Stone, Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson, Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen and Idaho Department of Fish and Game Regional Habitat Manager Jerome Hanson.

"The film was made over a year and a half ago," said Terri Klug, Western Wolf Coalition's Idaho outreach representative. "The main predators featured in the film are wolves, cougars and bears. There is footage of the Phantom Hill Wolf Pack."

Klug said the screening is to keep the public informed on what is happening and what they can do to help. She said that until this fall, hunting wolves in Idaho had not happened in years. She said it's unknown what will happen, but there are fears about destroying the pack dynamic.

"I had a booth at the Ketchum Arts Festival this summer and people made comments and expressed their concern about the wolf situation," Klug said. "People are afraid to go out in the backcountry with their dogs because they are frightened about the wolves."

The film includes a profile on Lava Lake Lamb, an Idaho sheep operator that has been successful at raising sheep without killing wolves. Lava Lake Lamb's success story is an example of people and predators co-existing.

The film presents scientific information about great predators as revitalizing forces of nature and the efforts of society to learn to tolerate the animals. Filmmakers interview Yellowstone National Park wolf biologist Doug Smith, who discusses how the presence of wolves affects the return of willows, a food source for animals like beavers and habitat for songbirds.

In addition, the film includes Oregon State University scientists Bill Ripple and Bob Beschta, two leading pioneers in the quest to decipher the great predators' role in the cycle of life.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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