by Ali Berman
Categories: Animals.
Photo: Flickr via lewing

Discovery’s new reality TV show, ‘Gold Rush: Alaska’ is being criticized for the unwarranted shooting and killing of a bear.

In May of 2010, a bear wandered onto the camp site, lured by food that had not been properly put away. The magic of editing makes it appear as if this is the bear who is shot. One miner is quoted as saying, “That bear’s not going to get in between my son and I.” The narrator continues, “The team had to make the camp secure.”

However, like with so much of reality TV, the editing tricked the viewer. The state Department of Natural Resources concluded that no life or property was in danger when the bear was killed.

State geologist Bill Cole wrote in a letter to the head miner, “The bear that was shot did not appear to be the same bear that entered your camp, and was not in camp when it was killed.”

Even though the shooter had a license and a non-resident black bear tag, this has been determined to be an unnecessary shooting. A cynical person (like myself) might even wager to say that it might have been done for ratings.

While no one was cited for the shooting, miners have been asked to show more restraint before pulling out their guns and to properly put away their food so as to not attract bears to their camp.

Anyone else wondering how many more animal deaths the Discovery Channel plans on dishing out? Between this and Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the numbers are adding up.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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  • Karina

    Why are these things still on television? Why are people still allowed to kills animals for media attention? All of these people (Sarah Palin included) are disgusting wastes of space.

  • Brandon

    Who cares it’s just a bear there not killing dogs or a bald eagle..we eat beef and pigs and all types of animals and they cut the cows kneck to kill it. It was a bear ok if that bear came at nite and someone was outside the bear would of attackted him or her. Shoot the bear and don’t stress it!! It’s just a bear lol chill out America look at the innocent people we kill in wars and write about that before a dumb old bear!!!

  • Robert

    I think the show was great and can’t wait to see more!! As far as the bear goes, PETA, People eating tasty Meat!! Besides if a Bear came into my camp, guess what BANG!