Urban Jungles Radio

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Fear of an Animal Planet...

Posted by Danny Mendez on May 28, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Not to age myself too much, but as a kid I distinctly remember running home at certain times or waking up early on a Sunday morning to catch Sir David Attenborough, Jacques Cousteau and Marty Stouffer on PBS in their latest adventures and discoveries of the natural world. As lonely city kid, until I was old enough to drive this was my escape from the Urban Jungles of NJ to the distant corners of the planet to see creatures I never even imagined existed.

I was hooked on nature as translated by TV, and why wouldn’t I be? Shows like Wild America and Nature on PBS traveled to places both near and far to present the interesting fauna and flora first hand. Often the presenters had not only a knowledge and confidence I envied but an appreciation that I admired. This admiration was presented with little script or prejudice and was often a true reflection of the wonder within the host of the natural world. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined as a kid that one day there would be a network devoted entirely to discussing animals and exploring their beauty and wonder, unfortunately I’m still waiting for it.

Animal Planet as well as its affiliated Discovery Networks has begun an assault on human intelligence and perception of the natural world. Animal Planet wants us to believe that animals are ever prone to attack, and that Nature as a whole is a scary, scary place. Long gone are the days when a nature show was about, well…nature. Gone are the days when a respected host travels across the globe in pursuit of a rare species previously unseen by the general population. It would seem that these days Animal Planet devotes more time to the pursuit of mythical creatures and legends instead of legendary creatures quickly vanishing from our fragile planet.

(Joshua Ledet's sister and father being badass-maybe if you cleaned up your yard you'd have less snakes)

It’s no wonder that in a world where social media can be used by influential people to educate, we see instead the likes of NFL player Patrick Willis and American Idol contestant Joshua Ledet who’ve chosen to kill snakes on their respective properties and post about it complete with pictures of the vanquished (and all non-venomous) harmless snakes. Animal Planet shows us that these cold-blooded beasts are on a one-way mission of delivering slithering, needle pointed or crushing death and should be perceived with caution. Not willing to take a chance since giant invasive pythons are taking over the world, the average non-educated person will choose to kill and ask questions later thinking they’ve done the right thing. Not realizing that they are removing vital rodent predators that under most circumstances are facing other increased threats such as habitat fragmentation, destruction, and road mortality often due to human encroachment.

(NFL Player Patrick Willis poses with a wild yet harmless Gopher Snake he got gangsta with after it "intruded" on his property)

Animal Planet has taken a shit on education and instead prefers sensationalism and fear mongering to the appreciation and knowledge of the natural world. In essence, Animal Planet is slandering nature and as long as it continues to do so I’d rather my kids watch Jersey Shore for its educational factor over what Animal Planet has to offer. It is every nature lover’s duty to boycott Animal Planet and inform everyone how misleading their perception of the natural world really is. Explain that by being in bed with the Humane Society, AP is contributing to animal abuse and as an animal lover you will have nothing to do with it. Make sure that they realize the difference between the HSUS and your local animal shelter.

Another important thing to keep in mind as an exotic pet keeper is that Animal Planet will never perceive you in a positive light. It is common practice for production companies that will often film for Animal Planet to contact exotic pet owners on Facebook or through web sites with request to appear on a show. Some people are even promised more and teased with potential shows of their own. Please don’t fall for the charade no matter what is offered or how much you’re told that “the networks” are interested in what you do. The majority of the time they will mislead you into filming something you’ll regret as many people in our hobby can already attest to. You’ll often find that the most respected names in herpetoculture and venom production do not have a show on this network for a reason. Please DO NOT invite them into your home or allow them to film you. Do not contribute to this network’s attempt to portray exotic pet owners in a negative light, often as social misfits with hints of hoarding or obsessive behaviors.

Do not let these networks insult your intelligence and spoon-feed you garbage about the world around you as they see it. Use your own senses to perceive it and interpret it as you will and if you love it share your passion. Getting someone else excited about the natural world is one of the best things you can do for our planet. Boycott Animal Planet and be vocal about why. Don’t let a TV network shape the world around us and more importantly don’t let them get away with talking about mother nature the way they are…it’s basically like saying something about your mom. Danny UrbanJunglesRadio

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