Image via youtube screengrab
What makes great nature TV? To Channel 4, it's going inside, quite literally, the animals they're profiling. And that includes polar bears. Viewers, however, are in an uproar over the fact that the Channel 4 show, Inside Nature's Giants : Polar Bear, featured a polar bear (a highly threatened species) being shot, skinned and then analyzed. The Telegraph reports that animal rights and welfare activists asked for a boycott of the show, which they say is "glorifying the needless killing of an iconic species."
Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of Animal Defenders International, told the Telegraph, "We are very concerned with the message that this program is pushing. Previous episodes have had presenters similarly dissecting elephants, lions and tigers, and while the producers will inevitably emphasise the educational role of such programs, there remain some uncomfortable questions."
Why exactly is a television program filming the killing and dissection of these often threatened or endangered animals? Is it really part of showing the science behind the animals, or is it a ploy for ratings? We could easily get the same information through computer animations showing what science already knows.
While many may find the show informative, it's also seems obvious that the appeal of blood and guts of iconic animals has something to do with the ratings. Still, the program didn't do anything illegal in this polar bear episode -- they were simply witnessing an event that would have taken place no matter what.
The Telegraph reports that a Channel 4 spokesman stated, "The programme features the dissection of polar bears, killed as part of a strict official quota by Inuit hunters in Greenland. The polar bears would have been killed whether filming was taking place or not and no payments were made by the production team to the hunters or the scientific team studying them."
What's your take? You can watch the episode below and let us know if you think this is quality programming for educational purposes and the promotion of scientific study of iconic species, or a ploy to get more viewers through the hunting, killing, and dissection of major species?
To watch the episode:
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