November 7, 2016

Bear Grylls killing bats in China on Born Survivor

I have already mentioned how Bear Grylls has been criticised for killing bats in China, see my blog of 2015. And I wrote about this on my Caves of Malaysia website.

The Discovery programme was called Bear Grylls, Born Survivor. It was first shown in 2010. In the USA it was called Man vs Wild.

I didn't see the programme then. But I did see it in 2016. Series 4, Ep 9 on Discovery Channel. The episode featured Bear Grylls "sharing invaluable survival strategies" when he was in a southern China jungle after a typhoon. From TV guide UK : "Adventurer Bear Grylls visits a region devastated by a typhoon and has to tackle swollen rivers, climb large waterfalls and use an ancient tribal technique to catch bats for food".

He reaches a cave and says that China has the largest number of unexplored caves in the world. And that American fighters used caves for shelters.

To go into the cave, he makes a torch by splitting bamboo, packs it with dry leaves, ties it together with vine and lights. The bats inside mean food. He comments on the smell of ammonia and says the spores from the bat guano are dangerous as they carry histoplasmosis. He uses light and smoke from his torch to spook the bats. He says bats have been around for 50 million years and use echo location.

He goes out of the cave in order to work out how to catch the bats. He makes a trap  /  net from branches and vines [it looks like a large lacrosse stick]. We then see him wildly waving the trap around in the entrance and a message at the bottom of the screen says something to the effect that killing bats is illegal in the UK and some countries. He continues to wave the trap around and catches a bat and holds it up to show the camera. Then suddenly the scene changes to him sliding into a river.

Later on he catches a large frog, he holds it up, then the next shot we see him eating a leg of the skinned frog, raw.

That evening he makes a raised hammock and makes a fire to cook his bats. He also sets a rat trap using bat guts as bait. We see him skewer 2 bats onto a stick and roast them. He says bats carry rabies so must be well cooked. We see him eating one, he doesn't like the taste but they are warming. In the morning he finds a large rat in a trap and cooks that.


Bear Grylls was apparently sacked by Discovery over a contract dispute according to this report in March 2012. It obviously wasn't a permanent thing as he has been seen on Discovery since then.

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