Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Killing Fields

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Once again expanding the boundaries of sports reporting, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel sent a news team to Africa to report on the decimation of the continent’s elephant population. The sport connection is trophy hunting. Big-game hunters and groups like the NRA are suing the U.S. government to repeal its ban on Americans bringing elephant trophies home, thus stifling interest in an activity that they contend brings African countries much-needed money for preservation efforts. The graphic hunting footage Real Sports obtained is sickening. Yet one American interviewed in his overstuffed trophy room by correspondent David Scott waxes ecstatic about the 15 elephants he’s personally “taken.” The larger threat is actually illegal hunters – poachers in the service of terrorist militias – who have slaughtered more than 100,000 elephants in recent years so they can rip out the tusks. The black market for ivory is a multibillion dollar criminal industry. Scott’s team embedded with rangers in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo to document their courage in protecting the majestic animals. Vicious firefights with poachers are common. Moving on to Kenya and Tanzania, Real Sports found evidence of widespread corruption in the trophy-hunting industry, from bribes to understating quotas. The notion that legal-hunt proceeds save elephants is left looking delusional, at best. For unflinching reporting on the imperiled African elephant and the brave park rangers defending them, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel: The Killing Fields receives a Peabody Award.


Executive Producer: Rick Bernstein. Senior Producer: Joe Perskie. Associate Producers: Frank Villegas, Naimah Jabali Nash. Producers: Chapman Downes, David Scott. Reporter: David Scott.