August 31, 2012 2:53pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
National Geographic Channel Drops Survivalist Over Animal Rights Complaints
National Geographic Channel has dropped a planned participant from its upcoming series Ultimate Survivor Alaska after more than 13,000 people signed an online petition calling for the ouster of what they deemed a "heartless trophy hunter."
Known as the "Hardcore Huntress," Melissa Bachman is a producer and co-host of outdoor TV efforts, according to her website, who has hunted and filmed around the world, including big game across North America, with a collection of images depicting her with bears, boar, turkeys and more in her "trophy room."
An online petition posted by Florida resident Tim Martell on Change.org blasted Nat Geo for abandoning its "traditional stance of conservation and protection for a partnership with a trophy killer" and called Bachman a "heartless trophy hunter" responsible for killing "hundreds of animals without purpose." It collected more than 13,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
"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."
Upon news of Bachman's removal from Ultimate Survivor Alaska, Martell commended the cabler for its decision. "Now, together with National Geographic, we can continue the work of conserving and protecting our natural world, not only for us but for generations to come."
Bachman could not be reached for comment and the contact option on her blog was no longer accepting submissions.