October 26, 2015
Misinformation Storm Strikes Weather Channel Show
“Natural Born Monsters” reality show manufactures drama from rumors to boost ratings and revenue
Minneapolis – International Wolf Center leaders previewed the wolf-focused episode of a new docudrama series titled Natural Born Monsters just hours before its scheduled airing on the Weather Channel tonight.
The episode attempts to hold audience attention by relying heavily on a mixture of mystery and incomplete facts about gray wolves, other animal species, the weather and one rare wolf bite by an unhealthy wolf in 2013. The International Wolf Center provided the show’s production team access to leading wolf biologists in January 2015 with the impression that an accurate depiction of wolves would result. In the months following, both the production company and executives at The Weather Channel ignored concerns brought forward by the International Wolf Center about the accuracy of the program’s content.
“It’s sad that the show’s producers left out important facts surrounding situations they highlighted,” said Rob Schultz, executive director of the International Wolf Center. “Despite published evidence, viewers are mislead by suggestions that a mutant wolf may have escaped Isle Royale and attacked a 16-year old boy.”
An investigation by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources concluded that the teen referenced in the show had sustained non-life-threatening injuries after being bitten by a yearling wolf that was captured and found to have severe facial deformity, dental abnormalities and brain damage caused by infection, likely from an injury it suffered as a pup. Officials reported the yearling to be in poor physical condition and believed it was from a local pack in the area where the incident took place on Lake Winnibigoshish – more than 250 miles away from Isle Royale.
The International Wolf Center cautions the public from feeding or baiting wolves as depicted in The Weather Channel show – an unsafe practice that has been proven to cause wild animals to lose their natural fear of humans.
“Millions of people turn to The Weather Channel seeking guidance on a collection of data from top scientists on meteorology,” said Nancy Gibson, Co-Founder of the International Wolf Center and two-time Emmy Award winner for the family science show Newton’s Apple. “That science is now in doubt after this despicable display of sensationalism regarding a predator intricately connected to wilderness.”
Sensationalized television programs from well-known networks like this one from The Weather Channel distort the public’s understanding of wolves and the role that predators play in natural environments.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER – Founded in 1985, the International Wolf Center is one of the leading authorities for wolf education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its Web site, wolf.org, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, on-site adventure and outreach programs and International Wolf magazine.