PHILADELPHIA— Students at University of the Arts in Philadelphia collaborated with the Humane Society of the United States to produce a compelling animated film, released today, that spotlights the many dangers wild wolves are facing. The focus of the project was to show the ecological benefits that wolves provide and the suffering they face due to trophy hunters and irresponsible state management decisions that are destroying this important, iconic species. The film was created over the course of a semester by students in Client Animation, a class led by adjunct assistant professor Jason Hsu.

The Humane Society of the United States provided ideas and suggestions for the tone of the piece, and the students worked collaboratively to research and develop characters and create visuals and a storyboard. UArts’ students met regularly with staff at the Humane Society of the United States to provide updates and get feedback on their progress. The project gave the students the opportunity to experience the process for developing a film in the way that they would if they chose to pursue a career producing films for professional clients.  

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“It was a total joy to work with these students at University of the Arts to create this film. The final result will not only bring much-needed awareness to the cruelties and challenges that wolves face, but also an appreciation for the wolves themselves,” said Amanda Wight, program manager of wildlife protection at the Humane Society of the United States. “Wolves are highly valued by Americans, and this creative and thoughtful film will inspire people to take action to protect this highly vulnerable species.”

“Every year, thousands of animals are put in danger because of humanity’s misdeeds. So, it warms my heart to know that there are people at the Humane Society of the United States who work hard to make sure these animals are protected,” said Linus Wallace, one of the students in the class.

“Through this project I not only learned about wolves and the horrors they face, but also about what it’s like to work with a client like the Humane Society of the United States and as a production unit,” said Jamir Smith, another student. “These are important skills that will aid my future career, and I’m thrilled I was able to learn them while working on such a worthy cause.”

“I think classes like this are a great opportunity for the students to get experience working as a group, and learn time management and communication skills,” said Hsu. “It was disturbing to learn how many wolves have been killed in such a short amount of time due to changes in protection status, but it's great news to hear the courts are restoring some of those protections. I hope projects like this can help the Humane Society of the United States continue to bring awareness to how many threats they face.”

In February 2022, a federal judge overturned a 2020 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist wolves across most of the continental United States, restoring federal protections for these iconic animals under the Endangered Species Act. While that ruling put an end to the cruel and irresponsible management of wolves by some states like Wisconsin, it did not restore federal protections to wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain region, which includes the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, as well as eastern portions of Washington and Oregon and north central Utah. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering relisting Northern Rockies wolves, who are killed by the hundreds every year and are threatened by aggressive state wolf killing laws and regulations.

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