Bear Grylls’ latest reality show has elicited more than 600 complaints and been accused of “killing animals to boost ratings”.
Animal rights groups claim The Island with Bear Grylls, which features contestants killing and eating pigs, “is a cheap ratings ploy” and could send a “harmful message to young viewers”.
Channel 4 said it had received more than 450 complaints from viewers, a large number of which related to animal killings on the programme.
Media watchdog Ofcom said it had received 185 complaints about the show - most of which specifically refer to the killing of pigs and piglets - and is weighing up whether or not to launch an investigation.
The series features male and female teams attempting to survive on desert islands in the Pacific.
Contestants spent six weeks living in arduous conditions, foraging and killing their own food, drinking rain water and using skills taught by Grylls to create shelters.
The female islanders have been filmed creeping up on a sleeping pig and slitting its throat before eating it.
The male contestants killed and at a rare species of crocodile after mistaking it for a common caiman.
The large reptile is protected under the Endangered Species Act, meaning it is forbidden from being killed, poached or harassed in any way.
“This was a genuine and regrettable error,” a Channel 4 spokesperson said soon after the incident. “Prior to filming, experts were consulted to ascertain species on both islands and the American crocodile was not known to be in the area or on the island.”
A statement from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claims Grylls and the programme’s producers should be prosecuted for animal cruelty.
"Killing animals is a cheap ratings ploy and sends an especially harmful message to young viewers, who are greatly influenced by what they see on TV. Bear Grylls and the producers should be prosecuted. Fame doesn't mean immunity."
Another animal rights group, the RSPCA, released a statement: "The RSPCA opposes practices that cause animals pain, suffering or death in the name of entertainment. It's unacceptable and could easily cause great distress to the animals. There's no excuse for using animals in stunts that carry a high risk of them being harmed."
The rarest animals in the world
The rarest animals in the world
1/23 Goblin shark
Dubbed the "alien of the deep", the goblin shark was caught by a commercial fisherman off the coast of Eden, New South Wales. The carcass of the terrifying looking creature was then donated to the Australian Museum in Sydney so that it could be dissected
2/23 Glass frog
Scientists in South America have discovered a brand new species of frog – and he’s a dead ringer for Kermit the frog. Hyalinobatrachium dianae is an inch-long glass frog with identical bright green skin, a translucent belly, and bulging white eyes with black pupils. The new species found by Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center on the Talamanca hills of the country, was named after the senior researcher’s mother Diane and brought the total known species of glass frogs on the island to 14
BBC via YouTube
3/23 Walking fish (climbing perch)
A bizarre and seemingly super-powered fish which can walk out of water and breathe on land for up to six days could spell a 'major disaster' for wildlife, scientists have warned. The aggressive climbing perch, which has lungs as well as gills, has been discovered in northern Australia
4/23 Frilled shark
A rare and terrifying frilled shark has been pulled from the water by fishermen near Lakes Entrance in Victoria, Australia. Also known as the "living fossil", the frilled shark is named for its six pairs of frill-like gills. The shark’s origin dates back 80 million years, and is one of two species that is still alive from this period
5/23 Black Sea Devil anglerfish
Researchers in the US have released what they believe to be the first video footage showing a bizarre-looking Black Sea Devil anglerfish in the wild. As anglerfish live in the deep sea, they are very rarely seen in their natural habitat, and fewer than half a dozen have ever been captured on film or video in the wild, according to experts at the Monterrey Bay Acquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
6/23 Blue lobster
A rare blue lobster was caught off Pine Point in Scarborough, Maine. The crustacean is being donated to the Maine State Aquarium
AP Photo/Meghan LaPlante
7/23 Two-headed dolphin
A con-joined dolphin found on the beach of the Aegean Sea coastal town of Dikili, Izmir province of Turkey
8/23 Conjoined whales
A pair of conjoined gray whale calves have been found off the coast of Mexico, in what scientists believe could be the first discovery of its kind
9/23 Fish-eating spider (Dolomedes facetus)
Dolomedes facetus captured pond fish (genus Xiphophorus) in a garden pond near Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The number of spiders who catch and eat fish is on the rise across the world, scientists believe
Peter Liley, Moffat Beach, Queensland
10/23 Dancing frogs
A frog couple from one of the 14 new species of so-called dancing frogs
AP/Satyabhama Das Biju
Conservationists in New Zealand are celebrating after an extremely rare kakapo chick hatched from a cracked egg held together by nothing more than tape and glue. The bird joins a global kakapo population of just 125 birds
Creative Commons. Photo: jidanchaomian, via Flickr.
12/23 Migaloo the white whale
Migaloo the white whale, sighted at the Bernard Islands
Twitter/Migaloo the Whale
13/23 Domed land snail
Living in complete darkness more than 900 metres below the surface has left this tiny snail with no pigmentation in its shell. Discovered in the caves of western Croatia the Zospeum tholussum is also a slow mover, creeping just a few centimeters each week.
14/23 Leaf-tailed gecko
The mottled colouring on this gecko helps it blend in with the rain forests and rocky habitats of eastern Australia. It also has an extremely wide tail (from which it gets its name) to further confuse predators
15/23 Flying frog
A Giant green flying frog which is among the new species found by scientists in the Greater Mekong region
16/23 Megamouth shark
An extremely rare female deep-water megamouth shark has been caught off the coast of Shizuoka, Japan, and is believed to be only the 58 sighting of the animal on record
17/23 A Maui's dolphin
Fears grow for Maui's dolphins after New Zealand government opens west coast block for oil and gas drilling
A rare goat-sheep hybrid has been born on an Irish farm, much to the surprise of a farmer who said the ‘geep’ is thriving since its birth
Irish Farmers Journal
19/23 Omani owl
An Omani Owl, a species completely new to science
20/23 Albino dolphin
A rare albino calf being herded into Japan's notorious Taiji 'killing' Cove, where hundreds of dolphins are slaughtered during its annual hunt
21/23 Stone curlew
The stone curlew is one of the UK's most threatened birds and has recently returned from their wintering grounds in Africa and Spain
22/23 Mascarene Petrel
A unique photograph has been taken of a bird with a visible egg showing after experts sent to study a critically endangered Mascarene Petrel on a remote Indian Ocean tropical island encountered an undeniably pregnant member of the species
23/23 Albino cobra
A "very dangerous and venomous" albino cobra has been found in a suburban Los Angeles neighbourhood after escaping from a home there
Dept. of Animal Care and Control, County of Los Angeles
The Island with Bear Grylls has come under fire before, when some scenes were revealed to have been set up by producers and four “ordinary” contestants were found to have professional survival experience.
The final women’s episode will air tonight on Channel 4 at 9pm and sees the team form a functional island existence after weeks of infighting, illness, disorganisation and mishap. Last week the women narrowly avoided being removed from the island by paramedics.Reuse content