You are here: home   Heard Around the West   Hollywood turns wolves into man-killers
  • This article by Betsy Marston originally appeared in the Feb 23, 2012 issue of High Country News.
  • To read the full article, you must login or subscribe.
Please enter your email address to begin:

Continue 
Follow Us
Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Heard Around the West     Comments: 0

NON-SUBSCRIBER PREVIEW

Hollywood turns wolves into man-killers

News: Feb 23, 2012
by Betsy Marston

THE WEST
Once again, Hollywood has chosen mythmaking over reality in its portrayal of predators, in this case, Alaskan wolves, in a new movie called The Grey. According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, the "man-versus-beast thriller" pits stranded oilfield roughnecks against extreme cold, hunger and a pack of starving wolves; when carnage erupts, "the wolves are usually the winners." This greatly annoys Gary Wiles, a wildlife biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, whose first reaction on hearing the plot was, "Oh, no!" As far-fetched as the movie is, he says, it deftly plays on the fear that wolves routinely target and attack humans. But in 60 years, only two human deaths have been attributed to wolves in North America -- home to 60,000 wolves. And not a single person has been harmed by wolves in the Northern Rockies since they were restored to the area in 1995. That suggests that if Hollywood were to shoot a real movie about wolf packs, which prefer to avoid people, the plot might prove excruciatingly boring. It could be spiced up, however, by showing somebody like Angelina Jolie walking an unleashed dog in the vicinity of a wolf pack. Wiles advises hikers to keep Fido leashed because wolves have killed at least 144 dogs in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming since 1987. Nearly all of the pets were running loose when attacked. Film director Joe Carnahan insists he never meant to demonize wolves as vicious killers; he told the Los Angeles Times that the animals were merely defending their turf from human intruders. But Wiles, who helped write Washington's recently adopted wolf management plan, which calls for a minimum of 15 breeding pairs in the state, plans to skip the flick: "Anything that makes wildlife look far worse than they really are, I avoid."

NEVADA
Watch out for Las Vegas cabbies, warns a headline in the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "Competition has Vegas cabbies taking prisoners for tips." The story is more nuanced, however, since only a handful of drivers seem to have locked their doors and given passengers ultimatums about payment. It is true that many drivers complain about too many cabs on the street vying for too few fares, and some say they can't make a minimum wage even over a 12-hour shift. In any case, driver representatives insist that hostage-taking is never condoned.

Tips and photos of Western oddities are appreciated and often shared in this column. Write betsym@hcn.org.

There is 1 more page in this article...

Introductory Offer - Save 20%

Print with digital OR digital only

From our friends

Carol Neuhoff is hooked on HCN!

"My brother gave me a gift subscription to your outstanding magazine last Christmas. It's a proud, surprising, eloquent, and pertinent tribute ... every single issue. Thank you for emphasizing the passion for the West over the mere politics. I'm hooked!"

Carol Neuhoff

A constant commitment to the environment

Needless to say, we love and appreciate the fine work all of you do to illustrate the importance of our constant commitment to the environment.

Thanks to all of you for illuminating the critical issues of our world, country and the West. Keep up the great work!

Jeff and Lisa,
Atlanta, Georgia

From a HUGE admirer

I just want to tell you that I'm a huge admirer of High Country News. The reporting, the stories you write — it's so important to those of us in California who see ourselves as part of the West and share all its issues. And they're always all so well-written. When people I know move to the West, I give them a gift subscription.

— Dr. Stephanie Pincetl, UCLA

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Why I am a Tea Party member |
  3. The privatization of public campground management | All the info you need to decide whether you love o...
  4. Efficiency lessons from Germany |
  5. The Latest: Interior commits to restoring bison on select lands | The “odd ungulate out” gets a tentative win.
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  3. What's killing the Yukon's salmon? | An ecological mystery in Alaska has scientists and...
  4. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
  5. North Dakota wrestles with radioactive oilfield waste | Regulators look at raising the limit for radiation...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
More from Culture & Communities
Our reliance on drones to patrol the borders
An artist’s road to redemption Review of 'The Painter' by Peter Heller.
The virtues of old-school car camping Backwoods adventure isn't the only way to develop an affinity for the outdoors.
All Culture & Communities
 
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone