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Show Stages Animal Fights, Critics Charge

Marty Stouffer, the wildlife photographer who created the popular PBS series “Wild America,” has been accused of staging fights between predators and filming supposedly wild scenes in cages.

The allegations were made by former Stouffer employees and others, and were reported Friday by The Denver Post.

Stouffer told the Post that he has never staged confrontations between animals but that “staging” could be a matter of interpretation.

“Sometimes we will take a tame animal out for a walk, and if a chase develops, we will film it,” he said.

Officials at the Public Broadcasting Service said they were unaware of the allegations but planned to talk to Stouffer about them. PBS has run 10 “Wild America” segments a year for the past 11 years.

“Mr. Stouffer’s integrity has never been questioned before,” said Kathy Quattrone, vice president for programming.

Chris Moaklin, who raises animals near Aspen, said she rented several raccoons to Stouffer 12 years ago. For one scene, she told the paper, Stouffer tied a rabbit to a post with a fishing line, then let a raccoon attack it.

“You could see the fishing line,” Moaklin said. “It looked totally staged. … I won’t work with Stouffer anymore. He’s too exploitative of the animals.”

Stouffer told The Associated Press he couldn’t remember ever meeting Moaklin, and he denied the allegations.

Tags: ethics

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