Group says Gauntlet Challenge production destroyed hundreds of turtle eggs and buried others
While filming the latest Challenge (known as The Gauntlet 2), MTV and its band of merry media whores have allegedly done damage to more than just the cast members’ livers. Paying the price for their flippant cavorting: baby turtles. Save Our Sea Turtles Tobago says in a press release that the production “caused massive damage to a critical nesting beach for critically endangered leatherback sea turtles.”
The production allegedly destroyed hundreds of eggs and buried others, so when the little turtles are born and struggle out of their shells, they’ll find themselves buried in sand and will suffocate to death rather than finding bright blue sunny skies and a life full of joy and happiness.
A Sea Turtle Restoration Project rep says “MTV and its producer Bunim/Murray Productions ignored repeated requests to resolve this problem by moving to one of many nearby beaches not used by sea turtles.” The press release notes that “[h]eavy equipment, the presence of about 90 film crew and the removal of sand blocked numerous turtles from nesting and destroyed an estimated 8 nests containing approximately 400 eggs. Numerous other eggs are now buried beneath densely compacted sand without any hope for escape for the hatchlings.”
The production also constructed a set—an obstacle course that looks like a shipwreck, sort of—that, according to SOS Tobago, “covered an area of beach about 150 square feet and has been constructed over egg-laying spots during the most important breeding month of the year.”
Via Wendy Herron at SOS (Save Our Sea Turtles) Tobago, reality blurred has obtained pictures of the beach and the set, both of which include cast members being filmed:
Update: Bunim/Murray has released a statement that says, in full,
Bunim-Murray Productions worked closely with all relevant environmental and governmental agencies in Tobago, including the Ministry of Tourism of Trinidad and Tobago, the Tobago House of Assembly, the Environmental Management Authority, and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment to insure that all production-related activities were ecologically sound and respectful of Tobago’s natural resources. Any claim to the contrary is false.