There is a lot of good information out there about the family Mustelidae, but it is inconveniently scattered about various types of media and often overshadowed by sensationalism. Genuine Mustelids aims to provide as many great mustelid resources as possible, all on one ad and pop-up free website. Unlike other mustelid enthusiast websites, we focus on the entire family and not just one species or subfamily. This puts us in a unique position to compare and explain the differences between species, and how a lot of information out there can be confusing or misleading. For the sake of clarity and pursuit of truth over myths regarding mustelids we like to question everything here, regardless of how controversial or trivial the subject may seem.
We are building a set of unique resources for those interested in the following:
• First, we list and provide data on every species in Family of Mustelids, with references to scientific literature, publications, and other credible resources. In addition, in the rare occasion where our knowledge is not corroborated by these sources, we offer information based on some of our members’ encounters and experience with mustelids. In such instances, we make only objective assertions.
• Second, based on these data, in Anatomy Tutorials we aim to provide helpful guides for those attempting to visually depict various mustelids, breaking down major physical traits among the subfamilies.
• Third, in Mustelids in Media we provide a unique database of books, films, animation and games. Here, we list and provide a synopsis of every book that we know of where a mustelid appears as a major character in the story, currently totaling over 100 titles. Further, we list every film and documentary that we know of that primarily features mustelids, and every game that features one as a primary part of the gameplay (while also actually resembling their species), as well as list examples of well-known and obscure animations where mustelids are particularly well-represented. Finally, we give explanation for how some common morphologically inaccurate stereotypes were spread in animation. This piece goes into detail about the ways mustelids (particularly weasels) are often anatomically misrepresented and typecast as villains in fiction. While we certainly have no intention of taking to the streets over such matters, our aim is to only show new content creators that there are other alternatives when representing these animals.
How we help
Having a website that educates people about real-life mustelids is one thing, but how does a list of fictional media help these animals in the real world? Such content is merely fiction and does not represent reality, right? Fictional media should not reflect on mustelids in the real world but it often does. People have a tendency to form opinions about elusive animals at an early age based on what they have learnt from cartoons, literature, and other media, and these early beliefs tend to stick with people through adulthood. Sometimes anthropomorphising animals to make them more interesting or relatable can inadvertently perpetuate inaccurate stereotypes, and while the practise itself is by no means “wrong”, it is occasionally important to clarify the differences between fiction and real animal behaviour.
While there are many great scientists and conservation organisations that both help educate people about mustelids and protect their habitat, few examine or take advantage of popular culture to inspire others to care about the existence of these often-misunderstood animals. Although we prefer to discourage further stereotyping of mustelids in fictional media, we cannot ignore the fact that many people’s interest in these animals is kindled from a favourite childhood or young-adulthood character. For this reason, we believe combining both fictional media and animal facts to be a great way in helping people become more interested in mustelids. We also believe that even those without a zoology degree may make a difference in improving their reputation, since it was average people who perpetuated negative stereotypes in the first place.
We are aware that our website’s content does not appeal to the majority of viewers, but quantity has never been our focus. From our experience there are a lot of mustelid fans out there who dislike and complain about the way these animals are often misrepresented in media, but there is also just as much if not more condoning attitudes towards the problem, as well as a lack of effort and commitment when trying to make a difference. However, given how deeply rooted some misconceptions are, sometimes this is more attributed to a sense of hopelessness than idleness.
Ultimately, our hope is for content creators who understand the issues and are inspired by our website to create improved documentaries, literature, games, art, animation, and other media about mustelids—to illustrate the information we provide in a way that appeals to their targeted audience. We believe it is these types of media that have the most impact on the public’s perception of these animals.