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New documentary details how species saved from brink of extinction became 'America's wildest success story'

"It's a compelling narrative that underscores the critical role each of us plays."

"It's a compelling narrative that underscores the critical role each of us plays."

Photo Credit: iStock

A new heart-tugging documentary is detailing one North American creature's stunning comeback from near-extinction, highlighting how our relationships with the environment and one another have the power to both create and destroy. 

In January, The National Deer Association and the Southeast Deer Partnership released "WildTail: America's Wildest Conservation Success Story," making it available for free viewing on YouTube. 

The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies also partnered on the project. 

"WildTail is more than a film; it's a wake-up call," Kip Adams, the National Deer Association's Chief Conservation Officer and steering committee member for the Southeast Deer Partnership, said in a statement. 

"It's a compelling narrative that underscores the critical role each of us plays in the future of America's native wildlife. We hope this film will inspire viewers to join us in our commitment to conservation," Adams added. 

According to the documentary, there were only an estimated 2.5 million white-tailed deer back in 1942, when Bambi was released in theaters. Today, however, there are approximately 30 million of the adorable creatures after they nearly went extinct in the early 1900s.

"Many Americans instinctively support regulated hunting, yet they may not fully understand the reasons behind it," producer Joe Clements said in a statement. "Our goal with this film was to bridge that knowledge gap. We aimed to create a cinematic experience that would resonate with viewers who enjoy dramas like Yellowstone, regardless of whether they personally hunt or fish."

The film is narrated by country music star Dustin Lynch, and it draws upon the diverse knowledge, experience, and expertise of scientists, elected officials, media personalities, and various thought leaders as it examines the ways human actions, culture, and even hunting technology impacted the animals, which help maintain the health and biodiversity of our ecosystem.

"The old way of thinking, where you only take what you need, and you have to pay respect to these animals … I think that [that's] important for how we harvest and hunt our deer populations now and value them," Caleb R. Hickman, Ph.D., a supervisory fish and wildlife biologist and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, explained in the documentary.   

According to the documentary's official website, WildTail also "provides us with a practical blueprint for protecting all of America's native wildlife." 

"The white-tailed deer population is an incredible asset and supports economic development, outdoor recreation, and diverse ecosystems," National Deer Association president and CEO Nick Pinizzotto said in a statement. "The population recovery shown in 'WildTail' is a testament to the power of conservation efforts and a call to action to protect our native wildlife for generations to come." 

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