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Elephant Killed on NRA-Sponsored Show 'Under Wild Skies'

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NBC is under fire from animal organizations as well as members of the public. It turns out that not many people like it when elephants are shot in the face.

The NBC Sports series “Under Wild Skies,” which also airs on the Outdoor Channel, is sponsored by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The video leading to all the public outcry shows gun lobbyist Tony Makris on a hunt in Botswana as he and another hunter hiding behind the brush, waiting for a bull elephant they’ve spotted to cross their line of fire.

You can see the video here courtesy of Huffington Post. Makris shoots the elephant two times, and though you can’t see the elephant at that time, you can hear stampeding and the elephant crying out. He thens find the bull and kills him. If you’re not angry at this point, Makris then says “Somebody got a little cheeky there.” You mean running after being shot in the head and trying desperately to get away with his life? But, Makris is ambivalent, moving right on to a conversation about possibly shooting birds later that day.

If you’re still not mad, it gets worse. The hunters are later seen congratulating each other on killing this elephant “in his bedroom, where he hangs out,” when he “didn’t know they were there.” It is a call for congratulations when you manage to shoot an elephant who doesn’t know you’re there…with your weapon…from your hiding spot. Then they celebrate with champagne too.

You might be wondering if this hunt was legal. It was, but hunts like it will not be legal for much longer. Botswana has declared a ban on wildlife hunting due to the decline of populations of wildlife species. The law will take effect on January 1, 2014.

In the wake of the video, public outcry has ensued. Petitions have been started calling on NBC Sports to cancel the show, including this one on Care2 that has gathered over 20,000 signatures and another on Causes.com that is catching up quickly.

Animal organizations have joined in the campaign to end the show, including PETA and In Defense of Animals (IDA) who have asked supporters to contact NBC. IDA writes on their Facebook page, “At a time when African elephants are being killed for ivory in record numbers, it is extremely irresponsible for a major U.S. network to showcase the violent slaughter of an elephant as a form of entertainment…As the world focuses on the plight of wild African elephants, who are being killed off at the rate of 1 every 15 minutes, there is simply no excuse for NBC or anyone to air a show like this.”

PETA adds, “In addition to killing multiple elephants while making Under Wild Skies, Makris, who is depicted on the show’s website in a photograph with two dead male lions, has also reportedly hunted rhinos and leopards for the show.”

PETA has created a page with a pre-written letter to send to NBC Sports, and IDA has asked supporters to comment on the NBC Sports Facebook page.

Kristin Bauer also took part in the conversation tweeting, “I own guns, I was an NRA member but have they gone insane??? Promoting killing the LAST Bull elephants…. http://fb.me/1RzuRK9tx 

Insane is exactly the word we’d choose.

Stacy Funderburke / Shutterstock.com

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