Friday, May 30, 2014
Just a few thoughts on the recent developments centered around The Discovery Channel's Animal Planet, and their production of "Man Eating Super Wolves".
This production from Animal Planet was brought to my attention by a pro Wolf on Google+ , I had not heard about it.
He mentioned that it was a negative portrayal of wolves. After reading the promotion for it, I'd say that his take was accurate, but I would have gone beyond "negative" to describe it.
It was outrageous, and any pro wolf knew immediately that airing this would only serve to create increased and misguided hostility towards wolves, based on wolfmyths.
The next morning my friend and incredible Wolf advocate, Janet, sent me a message on Twitter with a phone number for Discovery Channel corporate headquarters, asking that we call and ask them to remove this production from the airwaves.
By that time, there were two petitions already in circulation, one from Defenders of Wildlife (which was supported by over 80,000 Defenders supporters ), and one from MoveOn. org.
There were numerous comments of outrage on Animal Planet's Facebook page, and plenty of tweeting directly ( and indirectly ) to Animal Planet's Twitter account.
So, to hear so shortly afterwards that the 4 scheduled air dates for the harmful wolf episode had been pulled was pretty much the best news I can remember hearing for our wolves in a very long time.
This War on Wolves that is being waged between pro wolves, wolf hunters, and my U.S.Department of the Interior's USFWS is exhausting, heart wrenching, and can rip your faith in man kind to shreds.
I don't know what Secretary Sally Jewell and Director Dan Ashe are going to decide this summer about their proposal to either keep Gray Wolves listed as endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, or to delist them, saying that they are recovered, and no longer endangered.
Logic would dictate that the over one and a half million people around the world who left a comment to them during the almost year long, continually extended comment period should have some bearing, and that criticism leveled at the agency for using faulty science to propose the delisting in the first place would give reason for pause before removing our Gray Wolf protections.
Honestly, I just can not predict how this will play out.
That being said, here is what Animal Planet posted on their blog, after removing the damning wolf production. Thank you to Windswept23 for posting this for us.
Thank you Animal Planet, for exercising excellent judgement with your decision to remove "Man Eating Super Wolves" from scheduled airing.
Comments from me are italicized.
Reposted from Bites @ Animal Planet
Ten Reasons to Love Wolves
By: Beth Stewart
Recently, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission voted 5-0 to made advances in creating a stamp to honor wolf conservation. Find out more details here. In celebration of the fact that the topic of wolf conservation will soon be brought to a larger stage, here are ten reasons to love wolves - and why knowledge of their conservation is important.
1. Humans are not on their menu. Wolves have a natural fear of people and don’t typically pose a threat to us. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, only two human fatalities have been attributed to wolves in North America in the past 100-plus years.
(In contrast, dogs kill an estimated 20-30 people each year.)
2. Wolves are a lot like us. They live and hunt in extended family units where they develop strong social bonds. Mothers and fathers raise pups with the help of subordinate offspring from previous years. Aunts and uncles can often be found baby-sitting while the parents are out hunting dinner.
3. They strengthen the gene pool of their prey. Wolves typically hunt large hoofed mammals like elk, moose and deer. They kill weak, old, injured, sick or young animals leaving the strongest to survive.
4. Wolves are a classic American icon. Hundreds of thousands of them used to roam across North America. Today less than 5,500 wolves exist in the lower 48 states. For comparison, there are about 5,100 black rhinos left and they're considered critically endangered. Yet, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing taking the wolf off the Endangered Species List.
5. We owe them. By the mid-1930s humans had hunted the wolf to near extinction. When the Endangered Species Act was created in 1973, wolves were finally protected, but today they still occupy only about 8 percent of their historic range.
6. Wolves are a keystone species. As the most important animal in their ecosystem, they maintain a healthy natural balance that all other plants and animals depend on. Just ask the rabbits, foxes, otters, badgers, trout, amphibians, insects, songbirds, hawks, bears and other creatures who benefit from this trophic cascade.
7. Wolves helped save America’s most famous national park. When they were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995, the effect they had on the damaged ecosystem was nothing short of miraculous. Check out this beautiful short video to see how wolves literally change the behavior of rivers.
* This is a great video for everyone to see. It clearly explains to anyone at any age why we need our wolves on our planet. Please watch and share this.
8. Wolves are good for the economy. Tourists, wildlife paparazzi and scientists flock to Yellowstone with cameras, binoculars and spotting scopes just to catch a glimpse of these charismatic carnivores. It’s estimated that wolf-watching brings in $30 million annually to the towns around the park.
9. Without wolves we wouldn’t have Fido and Rover. The common ancestor of our beloved dogs and today’s wolves was a large, wolf-like animal that lived between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago.
10. Wolves connect us to our primal selves. It’s hard to describe the feeling you get from seeing wolves in the wild. The sight of apex predators roaming free unlocks some sort of visceral emotion in us. Maybe just knowing they’re out there makes it easier to believe there’s still room in our crowded world for the magic of the wild.
Photo Credits: Beth Stewart
Beth Stewart is an Associate Creative Director for Animal Planet. She spends most of her spare time volunteering with animals, photographing animals, advocating for animals and generally being wrapped around her two cats’ little paws.
Tags: Animal Rescue , Animals , Wildlife
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Thank you ANIMAL PLANET for doing the right thing. We all have a responsibility to ourselves and to the planet to do what's right, compassionate and caring for ALL forms of life!
Posted by: Kim | 05/30/2014 at 10:00 AM
Notice how Animal Planet has deleted all the negative comments?
Posted by: Michael Hodanish | 05/30/2014 at 01:12 AM
glad the Monster Wolf segment aired last week and millions were able to see the episode, before the wolfnuts harassed and threatened Animal Planet into removing it. A pathetic ploy to censor and suppress the truth about how wolves really are:bloodthirsty killers that kill humans and many many many animals. They destroy and wipe out wildlife.
Pretty sickening that a human life is considered of less value than the wolves' false reputation of being a cuddly fluffy creature. It's sad the men and women in the military fight for our freedom of speech and yet a handful of wolflovers that do not live near wolves or suffer because of them, can suppress that. SHAME on you. You can't hide the truth forever.
Posted by: wolvessuck | 05/30/2014 at 12:51 AM
I want to add my thanks to AP for responding to the outpouring of criticism about the so-called "man-eating" wolves and pulling the show from the schedule. And a nice touch to post these 10 reasons to love wolves -- now all that's needed is to air a similarly named show on TV to reach a wider audience and express publicly that AP erred in its original programming. Thanks again for doing the right thing!
Posted by: Chris Sanborn | 05/30/2014 at 12:48 AM
Humans should be as dependable and family oriented as wolves!
Posted by: Joyce Duda | 05/30/2014 at 12:03 AM
Humans should be as dependable as wolves!
Posted by: Joyce Duda | 05/30/2014 at 12:00 AM
Thank you Animal Planet for having a change of mind / heart and sharing this feature with your public. With your help, we can help raise & grow awareness of how important these amazing animals are and hopefully change the minds of those that hate them.
Posted by: Patricia | 05/29/2014 at 10:43 PM
That One Wolf Furry and Wolf Therian~~~
Thank you so much, Animal Planet, for removing the false "documentary" of "Man-Eating Super Wolves." That show was far from telling the truth. Now THIS here is the TRUE TRUTH! I just absolutely LOVED how in the beginning, you correctly stated that humans aren't on the menu for wolves! As compared to Man-Eating Super Wolves, where you incorrectly portrayed wolves as man-eaters. I personally don't agree with any of your "Man-Eating" series, but wolves are keystone species, and it's really important that you don't spread anti-wolf propaganda nowadays---especially when it comes on international television. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! c:
Posted by: That One Wolf Furry and Wolf Therian~~~ | 05/29/2014 at 10:29 PM
Thank you, Animal Planet!!
Posted by: Kibby | 05/29/2014 at 10:03 PM
Thank you for removing the series, incorrectly portraying wolves as vicious beasts. I read, and appreciate your '10 Reasons to love Wolves.' Would you consider a program, expanding on the 'How Wolves Changed A River,' video? Thank you for your consideration. I have been, and will continue to be a fan of ANIMAL PLANET.
Posted by: Thomas Mullen | 05/29/2014 at 10:00 PM
I was horrified when I heard my beloved Animal Planet made a show about "monster wolves". That is the furthest from the truth. I got really angry and began to tell my friends on the net that you betrayed wildlife with that show which you obviously know is wrong. I cried tears of joy when I saw you post 10 reasons to love wolves. Now Animal Planet needs to air a show about the 10 reasons to love wolves to right this wrong. The Wolves are in so much danger from mis informed people. I am shocked that Animal Planet aired a show that further hurts a struggling American icon-The Wolf. I thought Animal Planet were the "Good Guys" on TV with quality programming. Are you really just another "sell out?" Please prove me wrong...
Posted by: Alexandra Tait | 05/29/2014 at 09:45 PM
Posted by: Sonia Bakhshi | 05/29/2014 at 09:10 PM
I am glad you removed the offensive wolf series from the TV viewers. You need to make a positive show on the comments you just posted and that will truly make a positive trend for your network.
Posted by: C Miller | 05/29/2014 at 08:48 PM
Save The Wolves
Thanks for taking down the awful show. Wolves are just trying to survive no need to spread fear-mongering shows like this. How about making some new shows on how wolves should be loved and appreciated.
Posted by: Save The Wolves | 05/29/2014 at 08:22 PM
Thank you for taking further airings of your Monster Week feature that including misleading stories about wolves. I just reviewed your "Ten Reasons to Love Wolves" and found it very helpful in informing the public about the truth of how wolves interact with man and with their environment. Job Well done. Thanks. I have always liked watching your channel and will continue to do so and inform others to watch also. Thanks so much.
Defenders of Wildlife Member
Posted by: Westley Tatman | 05/29/2014 at 08:17 PM
Clark Kent aka Suhail
Thank you Animal Planet for projecting the wolves in true light.
Humans should question ourselves. Why are we so much against wolves?
Wolves have given us dogs. Yet we are bent upon wiping them off the surface of the earth.
It is proven by experimental evidence, archaeology, and DNA studies that dogs (Canis Lupus Familiaris) are either a direct descendants of Gray Wolves (Canis Lupus) or, at least, dogs and wolves are direct descendants of a common ancestor that went extinct 18,000 to 12,000 years ago. They have many common traits indeed.
"There are some dogs which, when you meet them, remind you that, despite thousands of years of man-made evolution, every dog is still only two meals away from being a wolf." - Neil Gaiman in Good Omens.
Posted by: Clark Kent aka Suhail | 05/29/2014 at 08:11 PM
You have done the right thing pulling the balance of your "man eating wolf" segments!
May i suggest you do a show on the recenty deceased Farley Mowat and his life in conservation and who is most famous for debunking many of the "big bad wolf" myths some 40 years ago.
Posted by: terrence moore | 05/29/2014 at 08:09 PM
Thank you for taking down the misrepresentation video about wolves from your website and not airing it anymore.
Also for posting on your website information that does accurately present wolves.
My only suggestion would be to now create and air a show not only about the information posted about why to love wolves, but also aimed at debunking the old myths about them, too.
Posted by: Al LePage | 05/29/2014 at 07:44 PM
I commend you for making the right decision to pull the remainder of this misleading and damaging series of re-airings, replacing them with actual facts about these majestic and iconic animals on your website. But the real proof of your dedication to the truth about wolves would indeed be a televised version of all the excellent points Ms. Stewart makes in her article. It could be a significant first step in once again re-inventing yourself, this time in favor of emphasizing the awesome beauty and inherent importance of each and every wild creature on this animal planet of ours.
Posted by: Leslie R. | 05/29/2014 at 07:32 PM
THANK YOU so much for removing the sensationalized programming on wolves, and replacing it with this segment honoring a magnificent and threatened species. Please continue the good work! Although harm has been done, Your network has the power to do much good...and you have taken a very positive step. Please consider a documentary on wolves that emphasize this article.
Posted by: BS | 05/29/2014 at 07:24 PM
While I understand the concept of ratings and such in television, I was truly disappointed that a network such as Discovery/Animal Planet would carry such a piece of tabloid journalism. Even during Discovery's highly rated "Shark Week" the programs that air are aimed at real education about a magnificent species rather than being about promoting fear and ignorance. I think you would have found that you would have gotten as many or more viewers had you produced an accurate and positive program about wolves. Aside from the propaganda, ignorance and hysteria encouraged by a small group of people like Idaho's buffoon of a governor, most people know that NO animal species is inherently bad and that each is a vital part of our world's balance. Please keep that in mind in the future. AP has so many fine programs, and it is a shame that one or two like this could destroy the network's reputation for quality, educational programming.
Posted by: Ravenwolf | 05/29/2014 at 07:24 PM
Posted by: Eddie Bonner | 05/29/2014 at 07:22 PM
This is a step in the right direction. Wolves are magnificent creatures.
Posted by: Patricia | 05/29/2014 at 06:31 PM
Thank you for removing a program filled with lies. I used to enjoy watching your channel, but now,not so much. My opinion is that the only kind of programs should be how important every single creature on this planet is. Every creature has a role to play. Man is the only creature messing up the way thing are supposed to work. Remember that we all will have to answer for our abuse towards animals. That being said, only air programs that are educational and show compassion for the creatures we share this planet with. There will always be haters, but please do the right thing. Don't fuel the fire. Air shows we want to watch!
Posted by: Debbie Diana | 05/29/2014 at 06:29 PM
To whom it may concern,
Like others have said, a lot of damage, again, has already been done.
For hundreds of years these lies have been told. Wolves are the most persecuted animal in all of history, ever. And you played right into that, again. For money. And that's the cause of the plight of so many animals: greed. Oh yeah, and power too. Is there no honor anywhere in TV programming anymore?
By the way, that's why we've created the show, The Animal News Hour.
I used to love your channel.
Posted by: David Forjan | 05/29/2014 at 06:07 PM