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October 7, 2015

Heroic Brit dies protecting CBBC kids from elephant

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Nov 4th 2009 11:02AM
A CBBC tour guide died protecting children from a mad elephant.When watching any nature special from PBS or the BBC featuring dangerous wild animals photographed at reasonably close range, how often do you stop and consider the very real danger men and women are in while getting that footage?

That danger proved deadly this past weekend when a rampaging African elephant trampled and killed a British tour guide (Anton Turner, 38) who was trying to protect a group of children visiting Tanzania.

The kids were in Africa serving as TV hosts for the CBBC (BBC's children's channel) show, Serious Explorers. Seven children were planning to follow the steps of Victorian explorer Dr. David Livingston.

Reports say, when the elephant charged a group of the CBBC kids, Turner challenged the elephant and attempted to shoot his rifle at the animal. But, he was unable to open fire in time and was trampled. Turner leaves behind a pregnant wife.

Now, it's time to play a very legitimate, but altogether too late game of, "What in the name of Marlon Perkins was the BBC doing sending kids into the African frontier for a TV show?" There's a reason why the feats of Dr. Livingston are historically noteworthy. They were brutally dangerous, and he and his crew defied death venturing that deep into wild country.

You don't send children within casual shouting distance of the most powerful land animal on Earth. The whole project sounds like a smug and careless venture, and it cost a man his life.

According to multiple reports, the fate of the elephant is unclear.

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I think sending children into such environments is a daring, pioneering and altogether fantastic use of the BBC's public funding.

I was on the show "Serious Amazon" and we were surrounded by dangers, maybe not quite as large, granted, but definitely as deadly. We bathed in waters infested with piranhas, camen, anaconda, electric eels and the such. The rainforest in which we were camping housed deadly venomous snakes, pechari (wild boar) and many other poisonous and dangerous animals. So these dangers did exist and were ever present. However, at no point were we unaware of these dangers and we were given complete instructions on how to deal with and manage such situations. You should bear in mind that people inhabit these areas of the world, and people usually includes children, and they live with these dangers in their day to day lives. I understand it's a tragic incident, but don't slander the BBC for providing the children with a once-in-a-lifetime (pardon the cheesy phrase) opportunity to experience a world and cultures that are hugely different from our own.

If this incident leads to the cancelling of similar shows in the future I will be very unimpressed with the BBC, and those who take action to see that it is cancelled.

Theres more to life for kids in Britain than football in the streets and x-factor on a saturday night and they need to be shown this.


November 13 2009 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sad to hear that. He's not the first TV person to get trampled by elephant (years ago, a camerawoman got trampled by baby elephant, which is pretty!) I can't fault the animal; it's their nature to go after other things which they feel threaten them.

However, bringing kids into the wild like that.. there should have been security there just in case something like this happened.

November 04 2009 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There's also a sequel in the works, where the BBC send children to follow in the footsteps of Capt. Falcon Scott...

November 04 2009 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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