Visions du Réel Review: Operation Wolf Patrol

A wolf patrol volunteer with camera

According to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) there are roughly 15 million people taking part in hunting in America. Whilst its popularity is on the wane, this differs markedly between urban and rural areas. The US is a nation who love their guns and their right to wave them around in public. With forested areas covering about a third of the country, there’s certainly plenty of fertile hunting grounds. Conservation and wildlife services are reliant on income raised by licence fees for funding.

Wolf Patrol is a conservation movement focussed on the protection and preservation of grey wolves. They support Citizen Monitoring Programs (CMP) which monitor and document public wolf management practices, including hunting and trapping, with an aim of raising awareness around environment issues and illegal practices. Operation Wolf Patrol follows eco-activist Rod Coronado and a group of volunteers over a three-year period.

Operation Wolf Patrol is a film of many complexities. The balance between hunting and conservation is obviously a precarious one and patrolling this throws up a number of issues. Joseph Brown’s film focuses on Coronado but it only brushes on his criminal past and there has to be some question over when monitoring becomes obstruction. It’s clear though which side law enforcement favour and Operation Wolf Patrol raises a number of serious issues around policing and legal provisions.

Operation Wolf Patrol screened at Visions du Réel.

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