No One Is Watching ‘Wildman,’ So Why Is It Still On?

Published by Jennifer O'Connor.

It’s hard to believe that it ever had any viewers, but Call of the Wildman is losing them—and for good reason. The “reality” show has already come under fire for capturing animals from their natural habitats so that they can be used to stage chase-and-“release” scenes. In one episode, a zebra who was supplied to the show by a shady “drive-thru” zoo was drugged, grabbed, and pulled to the ground in violation of the Animal Welfare Act.

It seems to matter little to “star” Ernie Brown Jr., aka “The Turtleman,” that handling wild animals not only terrifies them but also puts them at risk of being injured or killed. Stress and fright can cause wild animals to develop a fatal condition called “capture myopathy,” a cascading series of catastrophic physical reactions for which there is no treatment. PETA has filed several complaints with authorities about Brown’s antics, prompting federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies to investigate.


The cruelty isn’t just limited to the show itself—it also extends to “copycats.” In August, a Florida woman was cited for cruelty to animals after allowing her granddaughter to reenact a Wildman scene by hanging the family dog upside down with a rope.

What You Can Do

Ask Animal Planet to ax this horrible show.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind