P. Hall
"Video Librarian" magazine

Robert Garrott, Ph.D.
Professor, Fish & Wildlife Management, Ecology Department Montana State University

Harley Shaw
Author, "Soul Among Lions"

Brett Riddle, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Reginald H. Barrett, Ph.D.
Professor of Wildlife Ecology
University of California, Berkeley

Valerius Geist, Ph.D.
Prof. Emeritus of Environmental Science, University of Calgary, Canada

Jeffrey M. Black, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Wildlife
Humboldt State University

W. Daniel Edge, Ph.D.
Department Head, Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State Universit
y

Dale Toweill, Ph.D.
Statewide Trophy Species
Program Leader,
Idaho Department of Fish & Game

Rae Ann Simes
Advance Placement Environmental Science teacher, University High School,
San Francisc
o

Rick Bliss, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology,
Yuba College, California

Vivian E. Thomson, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Politics
Department of Environmental Sciences
University of Virginia

 


“One of the finest contemporary nature documentaries I've seen, Counting Sheep is ironically titled since one can literally count the remains of the endangered wild Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. Approximately 100 bighorn were still surviving in 1998; the depletion of their numbers was hastened by manmade carelessness in the 19th and 20th centuries (primarily due to the introduction of domestic sheep which carried diseases that killed off the bighorn). More recently, bighorn numbers were threatened by an unlikely environmental problem: their natural predator, the mountain lion, protected by California voters, could not be shot. A protracted process won the bighorn federal emergency endangered species status, trumping the rights of the mountain lions and thus allowing the big cats to be killed in cases where they were threatening the sheep. In the midst of this situation are biologist John Wehausen and mountain lion trackers Jeff and Vicki Davis, who've devoted their lives to finding some sort of balance in which bighorns and mountain lions can coexist without facing premature and violent demise. This compelling real-life adventure - filmed over an 11 year period - is artfully framed by filmmaker Frank Green, whose camera gracefully captures both the stunning beauty of the Sierra Nevada peaks and the four-legged residents who dwell at 12,000 feet. An artistic triumph and a provocative dissection of conservation issues, this is highly recommended. Editor's Choice. Four out of four stars.”

P. Hall
Video Librarian


“In his beautiful new film, Counting Sheep, Frank Green patiently takes us into the world of the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and the small band of humans struggling to save them. In a calm and quiet way this film introduces us to an environmentalist’s nightmare, asking us how to weigh the life of an endangered sheep against that of a less endangered, but still rare, predator. The story that is told is never didactic, and along the way the filmmaker introduces us to a cast of (human) characters as fascinating as the animals they study.”

Dale Jamieson, Ph.D.
Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy at New York University
President of the International Society for Environmental Ethics
Dr. Jamieson's most recent book is "Morality’s Progress: Essays on Humans, Other Animals, and the Rest of Nature" ( Oxford, 2002).



Counting Sheep shows many aspects of modern-day wildlife conservation, all of its flavors and compromises and collaborations. I thought it was well done. It tells a dramatic story with a positive ending and really illustrates modern day wildlife management in a way that is quite instructional and entertaining without being overly dogmatic. I teach a “Vision in Wildlife Management” course to students majoring in this field and Counting Sheep is a telling case study and an excellent educational tool that I will use in my class. Excellent job. And I never realized the Sierra Nevada were so beautiful!”

Robert Garrott, Ph.D.
Professor, Fish & Wildlife Management, Ecology Department
Montana State University
Dr. Garrottt studies large mammals: antarctic seals, wolves, elk, bison


Counting Sheep is an excellent documentary that details the decline of one of North America’s mountain monarchs. This 60-minute DVD would serve as an excellent case study for high school or college courses in wildlife, environmental biology or environmental ethics. The production mixes beautiful footage of scenery with difficult-to-get shots of bighorn sheep with interviews with biologists and environmental advocates. The DVD discusses causes of the decline in bighorn sheep during the 20th century including interactions with domestic livestock, human encroachment and predation. The focus of the Sierra Nevada bighorn recovery program is on control of mountain lions, which were determined to be a primary cause of sheep mortality. Mountain lion control is always controversial, especially in California where hunting and trapping of lions was prohibited by a statewide ballot measure. Counting Sheep explores the extraordinary efforts of biologists and trappers with California Fish & Game to track and monitor lions in sheep habitat and remove individual lions that are preying on sheep. Thus, biology, sociology, ethics and politics converge in an excellent film –– I recommend it.”

W. Daniel Edge, Ph.D.
Department Head, Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University.
Dr. Edge’s specialty is population dynamics and habitat ecology of mammals


Counting Sheep displays a problem facing all wildlife managers: when you do something that benefits one species, you may be harming, or you may even need to harm, another. To me, this is the most important point made by the film and should be stated as loudly and clearly as possible. If that point can be made, it alone justifies the production.”

Harley Shaw
Author, "Soul Among Lions"
Harley Shaw worked as a research biologist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department from 1963 to 1990 and spent eight years capturing and radio-tracking mountain lions.


Counting Sheep is very delightful, very well done. It's remarkably well balanced, and very well photographed.”

Dale Toweill, Ph.D.
Statewide Trophy Species Program Leader, Idaho Department of Fish & Game. Author, Return to Royalty


“Every species has its own story, but Counting Sheep shows the universal issues involved with conservation. This film could have a good place in the classroom because it shows the various angles of conservation.”

Paul Krausman, Ph.D.
Professor, Wildlife and Fisheries Science, School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona.
Dr. Krausman is known internationally for coordinating the meetings and editing the proceedings of the International Wildlife Management Congress, an event hosted by The Wildlife Society. He has been an active leader in TWS at state, national and international levels and is currently editor of the Wildlife Monographs, a primary publication of TWS.



“I enjoyed the film very much, and thought it did a good job getting students into an energetic discussion afterward. These are largely students raised in Las Vegas and therefore quite naive about landscapes and biodiversity issues in general.”

Brett Riddle, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Frank Green has produced a “must see” documentary about the efforts of a small but outstanding group of individuals to save the Sierra bighorn from extinction. Counting Sheep is a stunning conservation story that should become common knowledge because it confirms that there is always hope if there is at least one individual willing to commit their life to a cause. Every student should have the opportunity to see this superb film about people, bighorn and cougars.

Reginald H. Barrett, Ph.D.
Professor of Wildlife Ecology,
Division of Ecosystem Sciences, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, U.C. Berkeley

Dr. Barrett has been an active member and chair of the California Federal-State Interagency Wildlife Task Group, which developed the California Wildlife Habitat Relationships System.


Counting Sheep is a film certainly no environmental science teacher in the state of California should be without. It presents the complex problem of trying to save the endangered bighorn sheep while at the same time protecting its predator -- the protected mountain lion. It gives the students a chance to see scientists working in the field with conservationists, wildlife managers, and ranchers. As with all environmental issues, it clearly shows that there are many sides to this thorny problem, giving fair balance to all. After viewing this film it will inspire you to jump into your car and head to the high Sierra after a long school year!”

Rae Ann Simes
Advance Placement Environmental Science teacher, University High School,
San Francisco.


“Congratulations! Counting Sheep is a superlative presentation. The film illustrates an excellent use of the controversial Endangered Species Act and it shows how a fundamental policy of North American wildlife conservation operates, namely, the use of science to underpin sound decisions. All successful conservation generates rattling good stories that grip the soul, and I commend the producers of this film to telling such tales so compellingly. It has real suspense and a surprising, unexpected and wonderful ending. One cannot but walk away with hope inflating one’s chest. On the technical side I found no errors and am judging the amount of technical detail as appropriate. It blended well with an essentially human story. And with people like that, Sierra Nevada bighorns have a future!”

Valerius Geist, Ph.D.
Prof. Emeritus of Environmental Science, Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary. Dr. Geist is known for his pioneering studies of ungulates like mountain sheep, elk and mule deer.


“The balanced treatment of the politics gives Counting Sheep special credibility, particularly for these argumentative times. Your film seems more informational and less like propaganda than some recent efforts. As a consequence, I think that students of different political persuasions would be more likely to learn something about both the environmental issues and ecology of bighorn sheep. Besides that, it’s beautiful and a joy to watch.”

Rick Bliss, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology, Yuba College, California



“I was finally in a position this week to show Counting Sheep to my Wildlife Techniques class (32 undergraduate students). They loved it. The film was shown during one of our weekly discussion hours and was strategically placed so it would support and compliment lecture topics on capture and restraint, and monitoring marked animals with radio telemetry. Much of the footage depicted exactly what we lecture about so I found the film to be a great follow-up tool. Immediately after the film a couple of the students announced, ‘Okay, that it's it. I want to study bighorn sheep.’ Other students commented that they liked the inclusion of caring for individual animals while still emphasizing bigger conservation goals at the ecosystem level; that conservationists and managers working on population problems should also care for individual study animals as they go about their business. “

Jeffrey M. Black, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Wildlife
Humboldt State University, California


Counting Sheep shows undergraduates how difficult it is to save species. It
demonstrates that once species are allowed to slip to a certain point it can
take an incredible effort to bring them back from the brink. The film also
gives students a concrete appreciation for the hard physical and mental work
involved in conservation biology and through its personal interviews it
brings vividly to life a set of people whose lives are dedicated to this
particular cause. Finally, for my mostly east coast students, it gives a
terrific flavor for the Sierra Nevada and environs.”

Vivian E. Thomson, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Politics
Department of Environmental Sciences
University of Virginia

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