Animal Planet: Stop Exploiting Wildlife, Cancel 'Call of the Wildman'!

UPDATE: Feds have cited a Call of the Wildman exhibitor for violating the Animal Welfare Act! Following a PETA complaint about a Call of the Wildman episode in which the show's star, Ernie Brown Jr., aka "The Turtleman," wrestles a drugged zebra to the ground, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the exhibitor who supplied the zebra for the show. The exhibitor was cited for allowing Brown to handle the zebra in a manner that could have caused the animal "trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm or unnecessary discomfort." View a video clip of the violent incident—in which Brown forcefully throws the zebra to the ground by twisting the animal's head to the side and then pins the animal down—here. Because this zebra, a Grévy's zebra, is protected under the Endangered Species Act, PETA is also urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate the harassment of the animal under the Endangered Species Act. This incident is just one of many that clearly illustrate the cruelty inherent in the production of Call of the Wildman.

There's very little that's real about what Brown does on Animal Planet's Call of the Wildman—except his abuse of animals. Whistleblowers have contacted PETA to report that animals were mistreated on the show, and a recent investigation by Mother Jones reveals evidence that "legally and ethically dubious activities" have occurred during its production. According to the investigation as well as records obtained by PETA from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), Call of the Wildman acquires animals (often taking them from their natural habitats), only to release them at a filming location to be chased, grabbed, wrestled, and yelled at by Brown. These practices put the animals at high risk of injury and death—risks they face repeatedly and unnecessarily.

trapped coyote animal planet
According to Mother Jones' investigation, this coyote was reportedly trapped and then transported
in cramped conditions and held for 84 hours while sick and in pain.

Not only are animals tormented on Call of the Wildman for "entertainment," the show's activities also have run afoul of the law. KDFWR has twice warned Brown that his activities on Call of the Wildman—including catching bats by hand (which could kill them) and wrestling a terrified deer—are not allowed under his state permit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also said that it is looking into the show for exhibiting animals without a license and other possible Animal Welfare Act violations. The Houston Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department is also investigating the show for violating the city's prohibition on the possession of wild animals, and the city manager of Danville, Kentucky, has recommended that the City Commission consider "all available remedies under law" after finding that the show "was detrimental to the collective efforts of the community to promote the City as a progressive [and] enlightened community [and] … represents an impediment to the future growth and continued success of the community."

Despite mounting criticism of the show's abuses and ample evidence of legal violations, this cruel excuse for "entertainment" is still on the air—and Animal Planet has just announced that a new season will launch on Sunday, June 8. Speak up for wild animals now by urging Animal Planet to cancel Call of the Wildman!

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