The Order of M.L. Project consist of a small team of mustelid enthusiasts from across the globe, who seek to promote a more accurate representation for both art and education. All team members are volunteers and work to provide content for this website when able. As a nonprofit organization, we exist for the purpose of commentary, reviews and education. We at Genuine Mustelids are not an authority or animal rights organization, and will never attempt to force our views or persecute anyone to portray or treat mustelids as we see fit. Outside our personal goals, we exist publicly only as a guide for those who wish to learn what is being less commonly taught.
What are the issues?
There’s a common frustration among those who love mustelids which often prompts the question “Why do most mustelids in media look nothing like mustelids?” Or “My ferrets are sweet, why are they often portrayed so negatively?” Unfortunately well into our modern times, society still has a tendency to believe myths, popular depictions and idioms about mustelids without questioning their legitimacy. If we were to ask ourselves “Why are most mustelids singled out as the bad guys, when there are other animals with similar behaviors that are admired?”, we’d come to the classic conclusion that there’s really no in-depth explanation other than “that’s just the way it’s always been”.
Throughout much of the twentieth century mustelids were subjected to a range of media propaganda and sensationalism; imaginative minds taking advantage of society’s fear of the unknown. It doesn’t take much effort to make an elusive animal appear more savage or dangerous than it commonly is, if you take a photo of the animal while it’s yawning, use artificial sound effects while its being purposely agitated, or present an exaggerated taxidermy. Some mustelids are indeed quite formidable, but for many others these human-attributed titles of “assassin”, “mass murderer”, “cold killer”, or “bloodthirsty” are nothing more than overstatements of something we’ve known all along—that all wild predators must eat meat and be fierce or clever to survive. Any carnivore that didn’t or couldn’t do this isn’t here today, so why must they be given these unnecessary labels? Beyond their evident predatory skills, mustelids are very intelligent (some even use tools), bold and adaptive animals that don’t require sensationalism to be impressive. We should focus promoting more interest in these less obvious traits.
From time to time some mustelids have been classed vermin—while in contrast being valued for their fur, or hunting skills to control rodent populations. The word “vermin” is used as a label for any animal deemed to be destructive to crops, farm animals, game, or that carry disease. By this definition wolves, deer, eagles, bears, owls, rabbits, humans (ironically the most destructive), and even some dogs and cats would fall into that description. What is and is not a vermin can be subjective depending on the situation. Although we are impartial enough to acknowledge many mustelids can indeed be destructive (particularly for farmers), all of the formerly mentioned animals have one thing in common that mustelids are unlikely to be credited for—their natural charisma. Many fans of mustelids agree both the disposition and anatomy of mustelids are often portrayed inaccurately in media, yet few are willing to bring attention to these issues. This is essentially why Genuine Mustelids was created.
How we Help
Having a website that describes real-life species of mustelids, listing educational literature and documentaries is one thing, but how does a list of games, fictional literature, animated characters and anatomy tutorials help mustelids in the real world? Such content is merely fiction and doesn’t represent reality, right? Fictional media shouldn’t reflect on mustelids in the real world, but it often does. People tend to form opinions about elusive animals like weasels, polecats, and other mustelids at an early age based on what they’ve learned from cartoons, games, and other media, and these early beliefs tend to stick with people through adulthood, regardless of accuracy.
While there are great conservation organizations that both help educate people about mustelids and protect their habitats, few take advantage of media to help inspire more people care about the existence of these misunderstood animals. While we the average people are not zoologists and do not personally study the science behind mustelids, we have the most influence when it comes to improving their reputation; because after all, it was average people who gave rise to the reputation they have. How mustelids are viewed in society is important if we want more of the general public to value the information conservationists provide. There are many people you cannot inspire or teach through educational books or documentaries alone.
We find there are generally three types of mustelid enthusiasts: Those who simply like the look of mustelids and enjoy seeing them in visual media, those who take things a step further by representing them in art or conducting their own amateur research, and lastly professional conservationists who aim to study and protect mustelids. For some people their interest stem from a born passion for wildlife, but for many others it all started with a favorite childhood or young adulthood character. Memorable characters such as Taggerung the otter, Kine the least weasel, and Bill the badger are among a few that have inspired people to learn more about these amazing creatures.
It is also not uncommon for people who admire a certain mustelid species in media to not know much about the real-life animal, or even know their beloved species is endangered. For this reason we believe combining both educational and fictional media to be a good way in helping people become more interested in mustelids; perhaps even inspiring a few to become future conservationists.
Our Content Policy
In order to maintain our identity of Genuine Mustelids and differ ourselves from Wikipedia, it is not in our interest to mention every mustelid character that has appeared in media. To the best of our knowledge, we only present content from productions that have depicted them reasonably well in games and animation. In regards to literary fiction, we only mention published content that has a mustelid as the protagonist, antagonist or deuteragonist; to make your potential read of these creative works worthwhile.
Regarding our Species of Mustelids pages
One of our more difficult tasks is finding correct, up-to-date information about rare mustelids. Since we are not zoologists and do not have the liberty to personally study these creatures, most information we use comes from other reliable sources. Even then this information is subject to change, as zoologists and conservationists discover more about these animals. What was true about a certain species as little as five years ago, may or may not be the case today. Due to the complexity of the family Mustelidae, there’s also a lot of general misinformation out there. Combining information from multiple sources (especially those which are native and frequently updated), and finding similarities in their results is how we go about being as accurate as possible.
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