Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 29, 2015

Contact: Collette Adkins, (651) 955-3821 or

U.S. Conservation Group Files Complaint Against Channel 4's
"The Island With Bear Grylls" for Endangered Crocodile-eating Episode

LONDON The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal complaint today against Channel 4’s “The Island With Bear Grylls” for an episode that aired last week in which contestants dropped on an island and challenged to survive killed and ate an endangered American crocodile. The American conservation organization’s complaint asks that Ofcom, the regulator of communications in the United Kingdom, prosecute the British public-service television network for broadcasting harmful and offensive material.

American crocodile
American crocodile photo courtesy National Park Service. This photo is available for media use.

“The show demonstrates exactly the kind of senseless slaughter and deadly disrespect that has pushed crocodiles toward extinction,” said Collette Adkins, a Center biologist and lawyer who works to protect reptiles. “With the extinction crisis facing crocs and other rare reptiles, we need to take action to conserve them — not promote the idea that rare wildlife can be butchered for entertainment.”

During the April 22 episode, contestants cornered the endangered crocodile and clamped its jaws shut with rope. Then three men jumped on its back, pinned the helpless crocodile to the ground, and stabbed a knife into the back of its head, whooping and cheering as it died. Nearly all countries with crocodiles now prohibit hunting — including the Panamanian island where the show is filmed. But illegal hunting, as well as habitat degradation from coastal development, continues to threaten the crocodile.

“It’s unconscionable that Bear Grylls’ show would feature the brutal and illegal death of an endangered animal,” said Adkins. “We hope Ofcom prosecutes Channel 4 and Bear Grylls for this violation and sends a clear message that such cruel treatment of endangered wildlife can’t be tolerated.”

The complaint alleges that Channel 4’s airing of the episode violates Section 2 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, which prohibits the airing of “harmful” or “offensive” material. Last year, a humane organization filed an Ofcom complaint against the show after contestants killed and ate a caiman. Ofcom found that the show did not breach the rules by featuring the killing of the caiman, which is not protected by law. A few years ago, the Discovery Channel aired an episode of the show “Man vs. Wild” showing Bear Grylls throwing a flaming torch into a bat cave — and then clubbing the bats to death when they fled the smoking cave.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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