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.
Though we understand the show is about survival, we feel that 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.
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* 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.
* We 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
* We hope Discovery Channel uses all its nature programming to forward conservation efforts.
Bat Conservation International
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Bear Grylls once almost made me vomit while watching tv when he ate things he scavanged from a pile of bear sh*t (unfortunately I'm not kidding), but it looks like he's done much worse by killing bats. I'm glad I didn't actually see the footage (Discovery has removed it from youtube.com, btw). Now I have no respect for the man whatsoever. Someone supposedly deeply attuned to nature should know better.