Dear Media: Stop Using The Term “Lone Wolf”!!!!!!


Stop Demonizing My Brothers and Sisters

Update: October 23, 2014

Fox is airing a special tonight called “The Lone Wolves Of Terror”, so I rest my case.  Hundreds of years after the first Europeans set foot on this continent, we’re still demonizing wolves through words and deeds. I know wolves have greater problems right now but it’s all cumulative.

Big, Bad Wolf

Wolf at the door

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Cry Wolf

Keep Wolves at Bay

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Lone Wolf

Wolf Down Your Food

Keep the Wolf From the Door

Thrown to the Wolves

Can anyone think of anymore, I’m sure I’m missing plenty?


October 22, 2014

Wolves have enough problems fighting a distorted public image, without the media demonizing them on a daily basis. I’m referring to the constant use of two words – LONE WOLF! The MSM is tripping over themselves to repeat it as many times as possible. It’s driving me nuts. I think I heard it on the news tonight at least ten times. With the rise of ISIS and terrorism in general, news anchors and talking heads can’t seem to stop using this derogatory term.. It even has its own Wiki entry:

Lone wolf (terrorism) From WIKI: A lone wolf or lone-wolf fighter is someone who commits or prepares for, or is suspected of committing or preparing for, violent acts in support of some group, movement, or ideology, but who does so alone, outside of any command structure and without material assistance from any group.

A plea to the media. Please obtain a thesaurus app and find something else to call dangerous, horrible people. This may  seem petty to some but anyone who works in wolf advocacy knows that perception is everything. Wolves are suffering all around the world. They’re being hunted in Canada, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wisconsin and soon Minnesota. They’re aerial gunned by Wildlife Services, poached, tortured, poisoned, gut shot, trapped, snared  and chased by hunting dogs. They’re still even demonized in film, ie: The Grey, A real LONE WOLF is nothing to be afraid of, it’s just a wolf who’s dispersed from its natal pack or been driven off by their pack and on their own. They’re not doing anything wrong, in fact a lone wolf’s life can be very hard,  without the safety of pack numbers. So please Talking Heads stop saying Lone Wolf over and over and over again when referring to bad actors.

 OR7 was a lone wolf for years, did he bother anyone? NO!

That’s my rant for today! 🙂

For the wolves, For lone wolves,



Posted in: gray wolf

Photo: Courtesy Fanpop

Tags: Lone wolf, lone wolf term overused, media needs a thesaurus

Published in: on October 22, 2014 at 11:41 pm  Comments (34)  
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  1. Then again this relates a LOT to what I struggle with almost every wretched day. All media, movies, literature, television. ..ALL have had their share at demonizing wolves and other misunderstood creatures. To add insult to injury, my relatives and acquaintances refer to me as “exaggerated” or “extremist”. The only extremist thing here is how a disgusting animated film directed to a young ever-learning crowd like [gags] frozen, then again demonizes wolves… with the most common response to my remarks being..”its just a movie”
    It is astounding the amount of damage misleading information can do to an ignorant crowd and consequently the damage it all does to the wolves…

    I’m really brought to my knees right about now, the situation is utmost obscure, wolves are being decimated again with unparalleled brutality, and seems to be no petition or protest to halt it..


    • I think that we are all disappointed to some extent on how wolves (and other misunderstood animals like hyenas) continue to be portrayed by the media. It’s sad to see that many books and movies still feature the wolf as a blood-thirsy monster despite the current knowledge of wolf behavior; even my favorite movie has a short scene where the protagonists are being hunted down by wolves. I always wonder: “Why wolves? Why does it always have to be wolves! Why are wolves always depicted like this?!” It’s just… ugh. It’s frustrating. Wolves do not deserve this demonization!


      • Yes, it is absolutely OVERWHELMING… I cannot bear those popular lies about wolves.. Just as Nabeki updated.. it is a curse, I need not to be paying attention to my surroundings to pick up these disgusting remarks very frequently. And the outrage doesn’t end there.. as you said, hyenas, coyotes, oftentimes tigers… what makes it the worst to me is that people actually believe that rubbish! I remember when disvovery and history channel were places where you could ACTUALLY watch documentaries, now its just a pile of desecrating and demonizing garbage like, “Man Eating super wolves”…wow…


    • *In reply to your response.

      I think overwhelmed is an understatement. I too can hardly bear all of the popular lies that are being sprewed about wolves (and other misunderstood animals) and the fact that they are everywhere.

      It’s so sad that humans demonize wolves, hyenas, coyotes, tigers, and many other animal species that are just trying to survive. To add to the list sharks, snakes, and spiders also have it pretty bad when it comes to reputation.

      And don’t forget about rats and mice (especially rats). There are hundreds of diverse, fascinating, and unique rodent species – murid and otherwise, some threatened with extinction or already extinct – that get a bad rep just because their vernacular names contain the word “rat” or “mouse” in them. There has actually been a growing movement among biologists to replace their current vernaculars with their genus names (ex. using the name “Marsh Oryzomys” rather than “Marsh Rice Rat” for the species Oryzomys palustris) in order to eliminate this negative association. That’s hundreds of species being renamed just because of our negative image of rats and mice! And not to mention that the true rats and mice don’t deserve this bad reputation either!

      I agree, the most frustrating part about the negative portrayal of wolves and other animals in the media is that people actually believe it. This is especially concerning when the media depicts these animals as evil in stories that are geared towards younger audiences, our future decision makers.

      As a biology student it really frustrates me that people are using the media as their source of information on wolves (and other animals) rather than scientifically valid sources like books and articles published in scientific journals!

      Oh how I miss those days where you could actually watch factual documentaries on those channels! Have you ever heard of NatGeoWild before? That channel still has lots of good documentaries; I’d recommend giving it a try. I like to watch it when I get spare time.


  2. The media loves to get ‘exciting’ buzzwords and phrases to thrill the viewers, it is like jingling keys in front of a toddler to keep their attention.
    A few years ago man in China wanted to kill himself, for some reason he thought the best way to do this was to jump into a wolf enclosure in a zoo and let the wolves kill him. Well he jumped the barrier and fell in, breaking his legs… but the wolves were so terrified they ran to the other side of the enclosure and left him alone.

    Take a look at “Wolf Children” by Mamoru Hosoda sometime.
    A beautiful movie that actually shows wolves in a good light. Very sad in parts and has some awkward moments though.


  3. They will say anything to make Wolves look bad most people think
    Wolves kill people but no one had been attacked by a Wolf in
    the loser 48 and still most people thing wolves kill.
    The fact is we are killing the wolves at a scary rate and we need to get a PR for I bothers and sisters the Wolves.
    If you ever look a wolf in the eye you will see your sole.


  4. Humans kill for fun, most other mammals on this earth kill to survive only. Humans could learn much from nature, but they are too damned arrogant to be educated by nature.


  5. Isn’t it just so annoying, this term? The media today are annoying, arent’ they? 🙂


  6. yes, you’re right! the media loves those catch words or catch phrases. i don’t know how much a petition will do, but we must speak out at every opportunity that arises.


  7. The media makes up for being annoying by being useful. 😉


  8. the lone humanoid
    killed a family of its own kind.


  9. Or a lone humanoid killed a family of wolves today with an AK47 because he said “it felt really good…I smoked a pack”.
    When his boy scout leader was asked about this slaughter behavior , he said he’s a quiet loner type of kid. You would never suspect he could commit such an atrocity.


  10. I totally agree and I don’t like the phrase “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” either!


  11. Agreed!


  12. Amen!


  13. STOP murdering wolves!!!!


  14. Thank you for writing this! I’m so relieved to know that I am not the only one who is annoyed by the usage of the term “lone wolf” to describe lone terrorists! It’s not fair at all to the real lone wolves who are only trying to make a living in an unfavorable condition!


  15. That term as well as other derogatory terms based on other species
    sheep, sheeple for human followers, cow, heifer, whale for a heavy woman, pig for a sexist man, dog for promiscuous human etc.
    In the meantime please sign this petition:
    Sign the Citizens’ Vision for Wolf Recovery:


  16. Did you guys hear that a Violation Notice was given to the Montana governor by a wildlife advocacy group? According to the Wolf and Wildlife Action Group the actions that Montana is taking against wolves is a violation of the United Nations Charter for Nature. The group even plans on taking the state to the International Court of Justice if wolves do not regain protection. You can read more about it here:

    I’m really curious to see what will happen with this.


  17. I have always heard the term “lone wolf”‘ and thought harsh much? Ok so some wolves are you know alone, just go by them selves other wolves like hog heaven, or other famous packs are well packs it doesn’t matter does it, wolves are wolves, words, are words.. I have heard this term since I was little, it always offended me, just like yea a wolf pack, and a lone wolf. It’s not alone, it made the choice to be a separate wolf. It doesn’t mind it,, but, when we talk about it, it’s the wolf ” in poison ivy” just ruining it at the moment, it hurts. Anyway I will research more ok guys? Remember. The wolf in poison ivy…

    For the wolves, for the supporters..


  18. Wolves must disperse from their natal family, in order to make their own lives. Around 1 1/2 they begin to travel, although sometimes they leave at 3 and more rarely after more years.
    I think that like humans, when too little food requires dispute to survive, the teens must begin to disagree more.
    But mostly, wolves who disperse should they contact their siblings and parents, they greet them with pleasure and fervor. This has been seen by field observers over and over again over decades.

    A lone wolf is looking especially for a possible mate or companion, and if lucky, finds one. If less lucky, it will try to join another group (you can see instances of this on many videos nowadays). Sometimes it returns to its natal family and remains for short periods up to years.

    In the 19th and 20th centuries, lone wolves more often wandered desolate, looking for their human-killed families and mates. Every one of you can hear the difference between a lonesome howl and one which is meant to express something else. It is distinctively different and even “objective” biologists easily tell, because of our social and perhaps evolutionarily commonality over these 65 million years of parting.

    To me, my great hope for the family of wolf, is that come the right time for each, they will set off alone, to find good places to live and another. If you remember OR-7, now with his mate and young in the Rogue River and perhaps Umpqua, he was one for a couple years.
    Only the radiocollar trackers and a very few others even saw his signs.

    One who was forced to be lone by human for-profit raisers, those who cut his balls off, and the present North American culture, still became a full adult, choosing by watching, came to teach and explore among our kind. Although he could not retain a relationship with his kind, much due to the selfishness and crowdedness of humanity (he did meet more than one wolf/wolf hybrid to whom he was attracted, but humans believe mistakenly that life is all about their whims and choices), he expressed his whole life a great pleasure and feeling for life’s beauty.

    So, although we do feel for a tragedy of loss, I can tell you that more than one wolf I have seen, regarded their own life as of powerful and abiding worth. This knowing, this complete assurance they have, should lead us to understand that the fulfillment of a life is mysterious beyond the common knowledge of our kind.

    Did you know that traditional peoples on this and other continents, often had a healthy tradition of walkabout and quest? Know that if you feel the remotest understanding of why you would do this, you have touched upon the wisdom of the wolf.


    • One of the few high notes during this terrible week – what a great post!


  19. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


  20. Reblogged this on Sherlockian's Blog.


  21. Here are two that I had never heard before, but I found them appealing because if only they could be taken literally:

    Cut one’s wolf loose – get drunk

    Buy someone’s wolf ticket – challenge someone’s boast or taunt


    • Lol Ida..I’ve never heard those.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  22. Here are more derogatory terms/plases involving wolves that I could find:

    *”Like ravonous wolves.”
    *”Devoured by the wolves.”
    *The term “wolfish” is used to describe someone who is rapacious.
    *The French phase “voir le loup” was used to describe a girl that lost her virginity. It translates as “to see the wolf.”
    *A “wolf wistle” is a wistle that lusting men use towards women.
    *A man who sexually lusts after women is sometimes called a “wolf.”

    I’ve also heard the (Latin?) phase “Lupus est homo homini, non homo,” which traslates as “one man to another is a wolf, not a man.” I don’t know what it means, though, so I could not tell you whether it is derogatory or not (sorry, I’m not the best at metaphors and that kind of stuff).


    • Good catches WildlifeWarrioress…It’s a shame to hear these phrases over and over, I don’t think there’s an animal on earth who’s been more demonized than the wolf. Maybe some people think this is a frivolous issue but it all adds up….negative wolf idioms reinforce the idea that wolves are bad, dangerous animals. I even would go a step further and say the concept of werewolves are damaging and I love horror movies but when you look at these snarling, frightening creatures, turned from human into wolf, there’s subliminal messaging attached to it. Unconsciously or consciously people are being fed the notion that wolves are evil, which makes it easier to demean them, to torture and kill them. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • Nonsense Nabeki, the werewolf premise is paramount, good that you brought it up. Subliminal? hardly.. the stereotypes and demonization are abundant in werewolf related media, howl, appearance, strength, agility. . all proper of the majestic wolf.. yet spoiled by the foolishness and primitive drives of the human… All that directly points out to the fabricated notion of wolves being a “curse” and the “innocent” human was only “infected” with the alleged “wolf” attributes none of which are viewed as positive…


      • Depends on what myths you follow. Some wolves and werewolves are actually seen as benevolent spirits. Scotland has a myth of a werewolf who would feed poor families by leaving fish at their doors. Japanese folktales often hold wolves as mountain gods/spirits helping the good and punishing the wicked. Some European pagan mythology also hold wolves as sages. Most of the bad rap comes from the pressure from early Christianity, in the effort to make other religions and beliefs evil. I still cringe when I see some new wolf related children’s books, most of them are not flattering to their real life comparisons.
        A wolf spends most of their adult life walking, so if movies portrayed wolves realistically instead of “An Amercian Werewolf in London” or “Dog Soldiers” you’d get a wolf version of 73% of Lord of the Rings movies. Not a bad thing if you can imagine what beautiful sights they would see from their perspective.
        Isn’t it odd though that for a creature so maligned that if anything should be feared in this world ’tis the humble mosquito. They are responsible for scores of deaths every year and yet… no horror movie about them. Although the worst monsters out there both in movies and in real life, are human.


      • Thank you, though it’s sad that I even found them at all, let alone so quickily. It’s highly unfortunate that wolves are demonized the way they are with all these negative idioms and portrayals in the media. I hate it when people say that these idioms and portrayals are no big deal because they are. Not nearly as big of an issue as the wolf killing itself, obviously, but they can make people believe that wolves are evil beasts that deserve to be killed.

        I totally agree about the werewolf thing; I’ve always viewed it as being harmful to wolves. Like you said it gives the wolf a very bad image. Not to mention that it harmed humans as well; hundreds were burned at the stake under the belief that they were werewolves.

        Have you ever read the book “Wolf” by Garry Marvin before? It’s all about the relationships between wolves and humans throughout history, including the portrayal of wolves in werewolf stories and other cultural myths. It’s really interesting, I highly recommend it to you.

        Perhaps one day you could write an entire post about the negative portrayal of wolves in the media and the effects that it’s had on wolves and their reputation.

        I think you summed it up right there: as long as people continue to believe that wolves are evil the killing and torturing will continue. Just look at all the hate and violence sprewed by the anti-wolf folks just because they believe that wolves are evil.


      • WildlifeWarrioress…Over the years I’ve done a few posts on negative wolf dogma. There is one in particular that involves fairy tales, like Little Red Red Riding Hood. I’ll try and dig it up and re-post it. One of these days I’ll reorganize the blog so the search is easier to use. I’ve written close to a thousand posts but it’s hard to find anything because there are so many categories or I put everything in Wolf Wars.

        For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  23. I cringe every time I hear that phrase – and have sent at least three different e-mails to CNN imploring them to stop. I also scream every time I hear a violent “human” – one who murders or rapes or whatever referred to as an “animal”. No animal would behave as “humans” do!


  24. Our poor, beautiful wolves. Like they don’t have enough trouble with the killers after them. When I heard the term “lone wolf” used the first time, I just said “what, what are they doing?” First of all, the media appeals to people who are easily led. Just as they are.You see that it only takes one misguided news reporter to use an inflammatory word or phrase, and the rest of them pick it up. They all should know better, but all they’re interested in is sensationalizing incidents. These adults who are supposedly imbued with at least a grain of gray matter are an embarrassment and should be ashamed.


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