California Wolf Watch Has Publicly Called Out Active NorCal. Time to Take Them to School.

Today a “conservation group” named California Wolf Watch called us out on their Facebook page claiming that we are “spreading misinformation and outright lies about our page and California Wolves.” To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what they’re mad about, but if you call us out in public, I’m going to respond.

For anyone who doesn’t know, California Wolf Watch is a Facebook page that provides FANTASTIC updates on wolves in California. I truly think that whoever is behind the page provides the public a great service in educating about wolves and their reintroduction into the state. I have openly agreed with most of their stances on wolves (even against many local opinions) and will continue to follow their page because I believe in it.

Their post today was in reference to our article about the Whaleback Pack’s new litter of 7 pups, and how that was confirmed via a trail cam in rural Siskiyou County. In the article, we sourced California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s wolf specialist Kent Laudon, who talked about the new pups during a presentation that was posted to the CDFW’s YouTube page. Here’s what California Wolf Watch said to their public Facebook page why they’re mad at us:

First off, to be clear we’re an environmental/conservation organization who’s goal is to spread awareness about the return of the gray wolf to California. Secondly, WE were the first organization to actually report about the Whaleback Pack having 7 pups. And you actually pulled OUR video from OUR site without crediting our page nor California Department of Fish and Wildlife for the video. And the reason the press hasn’t talked about because it has NOT been addressed in the upcoming quarterly wolf update which is supposed to come out this month.

So let’s digest this information one by one.

  1. California Wolf Watch claims to be an environmental/conservation organization dedicated to gray wolves in the state, but they don’t have a website nor a single person’s name for us to decipher exactly who they are. If fact, if you click on the link in their Facebook page – http://sundancewildlife.org/ – there’s no website.
  2. They are mad that we credited the CDFW instead of them for reporting the Whaleback pups. Well guess what? We don’t run stories from Facebook pages that have no information, backstory, or website. No media company would. That’s why we used Laudon’s testimony – because that presentation fits our journalistic standards.
  3. They claim we “pulled” their video from their Facebook page – we actually embedded it on our site. They get all the views from that video and it even puts their name front and center so people know who it came from and you can actually click through to their page.
  4. We don’t always include credit in photos to the CDFW for a couple reasons: 1) They are a state agency and most of their photos are public domain. 2) We thought it was pretty obvious the trail cam photo was from CDFW.

For reference, here’s the screenshot of our article THEY posted to THEIR page. Does EVERYONE see that their name is clear as day for everyone to see?

I also want to point out that the Google advertisement that was included in their screenshot is for a Safeway in Bozeman, Montana. Anyone who knows anything about Google ads know they send ads locally, meaning whoever posted this is likely in Montana. Maybe that’s why they don’t have a website or name behind their organization? Is California Wolf Watch actually based in Montana? I don’t think California locals would like an outsider telling us how we should manage our wolves… A classic self own. By the way, their Facebook page says they’re out of Westwood, California and have phone number listed with a 458 area code, which is Oregon. And Googling that number shows someone based in Medford. Of course, I have no idea since there is no information anywhere about their “organization.”

One further note to prove that an embed on a website is an actual source. I personally Googled California Wolf Watch to find out anything about their organization. No luck (except for their FB page). But if you scroll down to the fourth Google source, up pops up our article about the Whaleback pups, which even sources them in the meta description of the article. You can’t make this stuff up:

As for the misinformation – I think they’re referring to the fact that we described the the Whaleback Pack as the second known current wolf pack in California. To be clear, there are also two wolves that are together in Plumas County (their location may have changed since the Dixie Fire) that, to my knowledge, are what as known as a “pair” – the Beckwourth Pair. Once they have pups, then they will be known as the Beckwourth Pack, the third wolf pack in California

Look, I hate to pile on these people. I really do believe in what they’re doing and will continue to follow them for information (if they let me after this). Active NorCal, as a digital media company, makes mistakes sometimes with sourcing. It’s something that’s unavoidable in this business. But that was not the case in this situation. All they had to do was shoot me an email or dm any of our social pages and we would have updated the article to give them more credit. It’s really odd that they want to start a fight with a local media company who supports what they do.

As you can tell, I really don’t appreciate being called out publicly.

Here’s their full post:

Zach O'Brien

Zach O'Brien is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Active NorCal

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