WPT Special Examines the History, Return and Current Controversy Over Gray Wolves in Wisconsin

October 18, 2010

Oct. 19, 2010
For More Information:
Lynn Brockmeyer, WPT publicist, 608-263-3364, lynn.brockmeyer@wpt.org
Joel Waldinger, series producer, 608-890-2840, joel.waldinger@wpt.org

 Some welcome the return of the gray wolf to Wisconsin; others have concerns. Wolves in Wisconsin, An In Wisconsin Special, airing 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2 on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT), explores the history of the gray wolf, looks at the controversy surrounding the animals’ return and discovers a unique breed of dog that is effective against predators like wolves.  

Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Wolf Recovery Effort has been successful. Once an endangered species in Wisconsin, gray wolf populations have risen. The return of this top predator, however, is not without problems. It has even been proposed to change the animal’s classification from that of protected wild animal to game animal.

Wolves in Wisconsin, An In Wisconsin Special contains remarkable footage of wolves at night during their principal time of travel. The images are the result of a four-year quest by WPT’s Frank Boll, an experienced animal videographer, who faced tough challenges to capture video of the elusive predator. 

In Wisconsin’s Northwoods, the gray wolf’s return to its natural hunting grounds is causing conflict. The DNR and bear hunters — unlikely partners — are now taking aim at wolves. See what is on the line when bear hunters near Clam Lake unleash their hounds into the woods for the annual bear hunt.
Wolves also remain a threat to farm livestock. A Bayfield couple has turned to a special breed of dog known for its skills in guarding and protecting livestock. The couple has found the  Maremma breed is an effective relatively low-cost and non-lethal deterrent to protect their sheep from predators.

While all dog breeds descended from wolves, dog and wolf behaviors are very different. There are questions about what may happen to Wisconsin’s wolves if these hybrids escape or are let loose by their owners. Wolves in Wisconsin, An In Wisconsin Special looks at what happens when an animal suspected of being a wolf-dog hybrid appeared at a Columbia County farm. 

Funding for In Wisconsin is provided in part by Alliant Energy and Animal Dental Center of Milwaukee and Oshkosh.

WPT is a service of the Educational Communications Board and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Wisconsin Public Television is a place to grow through learning on WHA-TV, Madison; WPNE-TV, Green Bay; WHRM-TV, Wausau; WLEF-TV, Park Falls; WHLA-TV, La Crosse; and WHWC-TV, Menomonie-Eau Claire.