The Next Chapter

It’s been nearly 20 years since wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and parts of Idaho, and placed on the endangered species list. At the time, advocates said wolveswolves were a vital link in the natural ecosystem. Returning the park’s premier natural predator would help control Yellowstone’s surplus elk and bison population.

Worried about the effect of wolves on their livelihoods, wolf close upranchers and hunters protested the reintroduction, some even filing lawsuits. The discussion became heated to the point of threatened violence.

Jump ahead to 2013 when the West has seen a resurgence of wolves. For ranchers, hunters, wildlife advocates and nature enthusiasts, wolves and their fate have again become the center of a growing controversy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that wolves — except for the Mexican wolves of the Southwest — be delisted nationwide as an endangered species and that their management be handled at a state level. Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have already delisted wolves and implemented hunting seasons.

RETURN OF THE WOLVES: THE NEXT CHAPTER, narrated by Peter Coyote, explores both sides of the heated issue and examines the role of the wolf in Yellowstone, the West and the Southwest. It is the third documentary by Utah filmmaker John Howe to chronicle the story of wolves in the American West.