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Discovery Channel Teaches People How To Kill Bats

Discovery Channel Teaches People How To Kill Bats

Survival shows have become quite popular in recent years, encouraging people who rarely leave the city to think about what they would do if dropped out of a plane with nothing but a flashlight and paperclip.

Bear Grylls, star of the Discovery Channel series Man vs. Wild, has been the subject of criticism due to the fact that many elements of the show are completely staged, and because Grylls stays in a cushy base camp when not shooting (a far cry from actual survival).

Although the show is intended to serve only “educational” purposes, it has come under fire again, this time from conservationists who claim a recent episode teaches viewers how to harm wildlife rather than protect it.

From Bat Conservation International:

A recent episode of Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild featured Bear Grylls
gleefully killing bats with a homemade club. The clip, which shows Grylls
throwing a flame in a cave to “smoke out” the bats, swatting them to the
ground and then stomping on them, has aired internationally and been posted on YouTube, allowing for continued access.

(Update: Since this article was published, the video has been removed from YouTube).

Intentionally or not, this clip perpetuates negative attitudes toward bats and could generate senseless copycat activity and/or the type of vandalism that is driving many bat species to the brink of extinction. Only four months ago, a Kentucky man was sentenced to eight months in jail after pleading guilty to beating to death 105 endangered Indiana bats.

It is high time these “nature education” shows demonstrated environmental responsibility instead of sensationalism posing as education.

Please express your disgust at this anti-conservation message by
filling out the feedback form on Discovery Communications website. Let the Discovery executives know:

  • This episode undermines decades of bat conservation efforts.
  • Bats are an important part of a healthy ecosystem. They eat agricultural pests, disperse seeds to replenish the rainforest and pollinate a variety of plants.
  • Many bats are endangered and the loss of a single species can have ramifications throughout the ecosystem. Viewers should be informed that killing bats-or even disturbing them-may be illegal depending on the species and country.
  • You would like Discovery Channel to ensure this edition of Born Survivor and related footage is not aired again and that this footage is removed from Youtube, the Discovery Channel website and all other communications.

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Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - usfwsnortheast

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495 comments

+ add your own
11:54AM PDT on Mar 17, 2012

TV=idiot box. Its run and sponsored by same heartless, greedy evil corporates that are hell bent on destroying this planet and everything. I think people should invest their precious time doing something worthwhile rather than watch useless TV

1:47AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

What a bunch of Jackasses!! Don't they realize that stupid people will see that and repeat the horrible destruction of these helpless creatures!! The idiocy of it is unfathomable!! Again, what Jackasses!!

1:02AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

I think its time all programs endorsing the desecration of nature such as Loggers, Gold Rush Black Gold oilrigs and antique shows flauting wildlife products should be challenged as to the consequences of their programs on uneducated audiences. Zero educational content and bad examples. What is there of worthy, entertaining and respectable about a bunch of bearded jerks blowing up rivers for gold, making oilspills, shooting at bears or cutting down 300 year old trees? Appaling "shows" watched by a dumb minority! There are thousands of hours of better documentary films available. For as long as them air the above mentioned programs, our intelligence as viewers is being insulted and confined and the nation stalls as the environment and wildlife suffer fatal blows.

2:57PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

I do not even like the basic message that 'survival' involves 'killing' innocents.

Where is this Man vs. Nature from (note the 'versus' meaning against); as though we are not part of Nature.

Also the other hidden message: conquering using force; now conquer bats because 'we' dont like them, then conquer bees because they sting, then the birds because they 'chirp' and 'spoil' the silence of Nature...

A better program will be: Survival with our own (human) self!

2:55PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

I watched about 15 minutes and couldn't believe that what I saw would be tolerated by any nations' officials. Not only do we need to write to the Discovery Channel, we need to write to the heads of state of Norway, Borneo, Malaysia, and any other country where this senseless show is filmed and let them know how disgusting an outrageous it is.

2:03PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

Good the cut the video. Sad.
Thank you !

12:42PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

Sad. Thanks for sharing.

9:45AM PST on Jan 18, 2012

This man should be ashamed of himself..

7:29AM PST on Jan 18, 2012

I agree with William the money this fake earns and I dare say it's a fair amount should be donated. If there was a world wide disaster I'm quite certain he wouldn't be able to survive. He's just acting and poor acting at that. He seems love having the camera on him and that's just watching the commercials about the programme. My son was in the Army and he could survive and what he has to say about this idiot isn't printable.

5:04AM PST on Jan 18, 2012

The least Bear grylls should do is donate his fee for that show,
along with the same amount or more from the Discovery Chanel to Bat conservation.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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