MTV accused of destroying turtle beach
Sunday, July 17 2005, 09:30 BST -- by Neil Wilkes
MTV is said to have caused "massive damage" to a nesting beach for leatherback sea turtles while filming its latest reality show.
'SOS Tobago', a preservation organisation in the region, alleges that the broadcaster destroyed around eight nests during the shoot for the next Real World/Road Rules Challenge, 'The Gauntlet II'.
"The only ones really running the Gauntlet are critically endangered leatherback sea turtles," said Robert Ovetz, co-ordinator of the 'Save the Leatherback' campaign. "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."
He added: "We are calling for MTV to contribute to efforts to repair the damage they caused to the beach, contribute to ongoing sea turtle conservation efforts and negotiate a code of conduct that can be a model for Hollywood."
In a statement issued Friday, Bunim/Murray denied that it had acted irresponsibly during the shoot, which wrapped earlier this month.
It read: "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."
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