A petition demanding that National Geographic Channel sever ties with a planned contestant for its new series "Ultimate Survivor Alaska" has successfully achieved its goal.
The network announced today that hunter Melissa Bachman will no longer participate in the series. The decision came after a petition on Change.org blasted Bachman as a "contracted trophy killer" and slammed NatGeo for abandoning "it's traditional stance of conservation and protection for a partnership with a trophy killer." It received more than 13,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
"National Geographic has always been about celebrating life, but now it seems the celebration of life they are so well known for ... has turned into a celebration of death," wrote the petition creator Tim Martell.
Bachman, who has hunted all around the world, features a "Trophy Room" gallery on her website with pictures of bears, boar, turkeys, fox, and other animals she has killed.
"The National Geographic Channel has carefully considered the public discussion of our series on surviving the wilds of Alaska currently in production and premiering sometime next year," the cable network said in a statement Friday. "Upon further reflection, we plan to eliminate one of the survivalists from the ensemble cast, Melissa Bachman. Hunting is not the focus of the show, and we regret the misinformation that has clouded what we hope will be an exciting adventure series set in the incredible Alaskan landscape."
Reaction to the news was met with both praise and scorn; with the latter coming from the pro-hunting community condemning the outrage directed at Bachman.
"It's truly incredible how some of Melissa's detractors brag about being meat hunters, but they blow a gasket when they hear that someone might be a "trophy" hunter," wrote one commenter on PetersenHunting.com. Do any of you nuts actually think that trophy hunters don't eat/utilize the meat of the animals they kill? It's okay to be a meat hunter, who will shoot the first legal animal he sees, but it's somehow immoral to be a trophy hunter, who refrains from pulling the trigger until or unless he finds the specific size/age/sex of animal which he is seeking? Being selective is somehow a sin?"
Wrote another: "To get a thrill from killing animals only shows how heartless someone is. Take a page from the book of North American Indians who only hunt what they need to survive and then thank the animal for giving of themselves. They show the animal respect, not snap photos of themselves grinning beside their trophy and only kill what they will consume. Hunters, please show these animals some respect and don't hunt for the thrill of a big trophy, please."
"Ultimate Survivor Alaska" is expected to air later next year.