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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Call of the Wildman TV Program

Call of the Wildman, one of the stupidest shows I ever saw, is not currently on the schedule on Animal Planet and in 2014 Animal Planet Canada abruptly canceled episodes of the scandal-tainted reality show just days before a new season was scheduled to air. 
     Call of the Wildman was reality television series on Animal Planet that followed the exploits of Kentucky woodsman Ernie “The Turtleman” Brown, Jr. He was assisted by his friend Neal James and his dog Lolly. Brown operated a nuisance animal removal business in which he caught and released nuisance animals. The series was primarily filmed near Brown's home in Lebanon, Kentucky. 
     Brown began catching snapping turtles from ponds near his home at the age of 7. He came to the attention of Animal Planet producers in part after an episode of Kentucky Educational Television's Kentucky Afield series that featured his bare-handed turtle-catching techniques was posted on YouTube and went viral. 
     After personally visiting Brown and doing some initial filming, network executives decided to produce a 12-episode season of the series with the working title The Turtleman of Wild Kentucky. The title was soon changed to Call of the Wildman, a reference to Brown's distinctive yell that punctuates his actions throughout the series. 
     The series was Animal Planet's most watched program in the fourth quarter of 2011 and was renewed for a second, 16-episode series that began airing in June 2012. On October 2012, Animal Planet has re-released the series with bonus features and trivia information known as Call of the Wildman: More Live Action. 
     Some poverty advocacy groups expressed concerns that it exploited stereotypical views of Southerners as being poorly educated, poorly groomed, and impoverished. Despite his Turtleman nickname, Brown caught all types of nuisance animals, including raccoons, skunks, snakes, venomous spiders, and possums. Once he captured an animal, often with his bare hands, he relocated it to a safer location. For his services, he usually took as payment only the cost of gasoline or sometimes small trinkets or a few dollars in cash. 
     In 2013, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife sent him a warning letter that some of his actions were a violation of his Nuisance Wildlife Control Officer permit and that any future violations could result in the revocation of his permit and/or a citation. The following year a report by Mother Jones lead to further scrutiny by Kentucky state agencies because some records he filed with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife that detailed what was captured, released and euthanized appear to have been falsified. The United States Department of Agriculture also reviewed his actions in order to determine whether violations of the Animal Welfare Act were made by the production company and film crew by not having appropriate federal licensing to display regulated animals on television. 
     The Mother Jones report pictured exploitation, cruelty and law-breaking. In one case, by the time three orphaned raccoons arrived for emergency care at the Kentucky Wildlife Center they were emaciated and almost dead. Two of them survived. 
     In another case, a zebra was obtained from Franklin Drive Thru Safari, was drugged for filming. Production crews said it was drugged without their knowledge. 
     Obviously, the animals for rescue, which are obtained from trappers and wildlife refuges are planted and the sets are tailored to specification. Producers even make fake animal droppings using Nutella, Snickers bars, and rice. 

For the Mother Jones report Drugs, Death, Neglect: Behind the Scenes at Animal Planet Our exclusive investigation reveals how animals suffer on the network's top reality show, visit their site HERE. The Marion County (Kentucky) Historical Society has a museum featuring Turtleman. The Turtleman's net worth is reported to be one million dollars.

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