Back in May, the Animal Planet channel was set to screen a sensationalist piece of clap trap posing as a documentary entitled, “Man-Eating Super Wolves.” The production purports that wolf numbers have grown so large that the animals will soon be hunting people living in subdivisions: the kind of scaremongering hyperbole that gets at-risk populations of wolves killed for no valid reason. A public campaign against the screening was successful in getting the program pulled from Animal Planet, but now the Discovery Channel Canada has decided to screen it this coming Sunday 24 August, 2014. If you would like to add your voice to the campaign to stop this screening, read on for details.
The teaser for the screening reads: “Razor-sharp teeth, killer instincts and senses so precise they hear your beating heart, and your fear; they’re on the hunt and with numbers growing out of control, they’re threatening humans like never before.” With wolves having much more to fear from humans than we do from them this isn’t exactly the kind of presentation one would hope to see from a channel supposedly dedicated to “compelling real-life programming that inspires and entertains.” The program focuses repeatedly on two documented, unrelated, wolf-attributed deaths since 2005, and extrapolates a trend from them. Sensationalism such as this only leads to an increased fear of the animals and a diminishing of respect for them as apex predators with a vital role to perform in a complex ecosystem. Given that pet dogs have killed an average of over 30 people a year in the U.S. for the last decade, the sensationalism is hardly justified.
Originally, the grey wolf was the world’s most widely distributed mammal, but concerted eradication efforts have resulted in it becoming extinct in much of Western Europe and the U.S. Since 1970, a reversal in population decline and a gradual reintroduction of very small populations in the U.S. lead to the grey wolf‘s status being downgraded from vulnerable to of least concern on the IUCN Red List in 2004. However, the situation for the rare red wolf is certainly much more bleak. The IUCN also notes of the grey wolf: “Continued threats include competition with humans for livestock and game species, exaggerated concern by the public regarding the threat and danger of wolves, and fragmentation of habitat, with resulting areas becoming too small for populations with long-term viability.” Titles such as Man-Eating Super Wolves certainly play on already “exaggerated concerns.”
Many animal rights groups have lent their support to the campaign to stop the sensationalist screening, but it is currently scheduled for the following times: Sunday 24 August, 2014, at 9 p.m., Monday 25 August at 1 a.m. and Monday 25 August at 4 a.m. If you would like to voice your concern about the screening you can email the network via: [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] The contact telephone number is: 1-800-370-2332 or (416) 332-4332.
UPDATE: An Inhabitat reader who was already protesting this screening has set up a Change.org petition, so in addition to contacting Discovery Channel directly, you can also have your say here.