This is the first post of what unexpectedly turned into a two-part series.
When you’re done here, check out our follow up, What is Blake doing in Africa?
We all know the Bachelor contestants don’t choose their job titles on the show. We highly doubt someone would choose to be identified as “Chicken Enthusiast” or “Sloth,” after all. However, the serious contenders probably get more input than that poor “Amateur Sex Coach.”
Blake is identified on the Bachelorette as a “Wildlife Manager.”
Unlike “Amateur Sex Coach,” this is a real job! A very cool, important job!
People who work with wildlife and in conservation generally dedicate years of their life to education, unpaid internships, and low-paying part-time jobs to earn a coveted position in the field.
So did Blake? We looked into it.
Is Blake Moynes really a Wildlife Manager?
Yeah, but it wasn’t what we were expecting. In this instance, “Wildlife Manager” means someone that works for a pest control company.
The company Blake worked for calls their pest-control technicians wildlife managers, which is legitimate. It’s just not what we had expected from the job title. That’s on us.
We envisioned Blake spending his days as a park ranger or hanging out in a little hut educating kids about how to befriend woodland creatures.
We were curious to find out what “wildlife managers” for pest control companies do, so we dug a little deeper. Here’s an excerpt from the company newsletter.
“What I look for when filling a role in wildlife management is a background in construction-related fields, and for someone who is not afraid to climb ladders or through small spaces to locate the hard-to-find areas where wildlife is getting in.”
Wrangling raccoons is a necessary job and we have no judgement for anybody choosing to pursue it as a career. In fact, we wish Blake would talk more about the work that he did in pest control. That’s the influencer content we want to see!
However, what we want to highlight (at the nudging of our pals in conservation) is that there is the potential for people with large platforms to harm the very causes they want to help if they’re not careful.
Wait, what about his work in Africa?
From his Instagram, it looks like before he came on The Bachelorette, Blake visited an organization called Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary in South Africa. It’s an organization that takes volunteers.
In fact, any one can pay to volunteer for Care for Rhino Sanctuary.
You could do it! Provided you’re prepared to spend around $1,000 a week + airfare. The people we talked to said it’s a legit sanctuary, but also that a week of shoveling rhino dung does not mean that somebody has a job in Africa.
We couldn’t find any other professional credentials or associations at the time of publication.
Why does it matter?
Look, we’ve all inflated our resumes a little bit. Especially when we’re trying to impress a girl!
But Blake has taken this beyond the show. He appears to be using his conservation credentials to sell an image of himself as a sexy woodsman (and t-shirts).
We know, it’s “for a good cause!”
His online store promises to give an undisclosed amount of sales to an undisclosed charity and plant a tree for every product being sold. . . Hmmm.
Listen, we don’t hate rhinos.
The reason we’ve made Blake our first feature is precisely because there’s the potential for this type of influencer activism to be extremely problematic.
Who benefits the most from t-shirt sales, baby rhinos or Blake?
We have no idea.
Not only do we not know how much good Blake is doing (or where these trees are being planted!), there’s the potential that inexpert conservation messaging could backfire. Professional conservation communicators are constantly assessing outcomes and refining their strategies.
Is Blake doing this? We don’t know.
We do know that his “Give a Shit” launch video featured almost as many aspirational shots of gas-guzzling trucks & ATVs as close-ups of Blake’s muscular chest.
If Greta Thunberg ever does follow Blake back on Instagram, do you think she’ll be impressed?
Plus, that photo of Blake feeding a chipmunk really annoyed the shit out of the conservation folks we showed it to.
Like, they just hated it so much.
Professional wildlife managers know that food is the number one attractant for nuisance animals. A fed animal is a dead animal.
And yeah, hyper-focusing on our choices as individuals instead of the actions of major corporations is a capitalist thought trap, but the professional conservation educators we talked to said it’s still essential to model responsible behavior.
Especially if you’re telling people that if they don’t buy your t-shirt an orphan baby rhino will go to bed hungry.
Before we go, we do want to say again: pest control is a real and important job.
There is nothing wrong with having a normal person job!
There’s also nothing wrong with having multiple jobs or being out of work. It’s rough out there for everyone! We are simply examining the disconnect between the image that’s being monetized and real life.
We hope that Blake is successful in using his platform for good.
Until next time,
xo Your Nosy Friends
AKA “International Detectives”
UPDATE! OUR RESEARCH WAS CONFIRMED ON THE COMPANY’S TWITTER!
UPDATE UPDATE! DO NOT MISS PART 2: What is Blake doing in Africa?