PERC Film Elk in Paradise Wins Prestigious Award

News for Immediate Release
December 14, 2021
Contact: Kat Dwyer, 406-587-9591, kdwyer@perc.org

The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC)’s short film Elk in Paradise: Rancher, Ecologist, Hunter has won the Atlas Network’s Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Festival Award, a first for the Bozeman, Montana-based nonprofit conservation institute. The honor was announced at the 2021 Atlas Network Liberty Forum in Miami.

Organized by the Atlas Network, a global network of independent civil society organizations that promote individual freedom and remove barriers to human flourishing, the international competition recognizes successful online videos from the last year. Strong candidates articulate the strategic impact of their video and typically reach significant and strategic audiences, utilize effective messaging or storytelling, and demonstrate capable production and editing techniques. In addition to the recognition, PERC also received a $10,000 prize.

Elk in Paradise highlights the need to bring market-based solutions to the challenge of protecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This ecosystem is one of the last wild areas of its kind, but wildlife herds that enjoy the unique habitat often impose costs on ranchers. Elk are drawn to private land on cattle ranches since they are free of many of the pressures present on public land and can find habitat and forage. Many ranchers are willing to help protect elk herds, but through disease and property destruction, elk present a significant threat to already-struggling ranch operations. In Elk in Paradise, PERC presents both sides of the issue and discusses the potential of a partnership between private landowners and conservation groups.

Elk in Paradise has sparked conversations across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and beyond about a better path forward that protects both wildlife and property rights. The film has been screened locally in Montana and accepted into two additional film festivals—the Bozeman International Film Festival and the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York City. 

After launching the film, PERC and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a local non-profit, worked with a local family-owned ranch to launch the region’s first elk occupancy agreement. Demonstrating the market-based approach outlined in the film, the agreement conserves nearly 500 acres of elk winter range thanks to 1.25 miles of privately funded wildlife-friendly fencing. The demonstration project is intended as a proof of concept that, along with the film, will inspire similar occupancy agreements with private landowners throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and other major corridors for migratory wildlife.

 

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