TV & Movies

Martin Clunes, patron of Born Free, climbs elephant's ears in shocking scenes

Martin Clunes, a patron for wildlife protection charity Born Free, has come under fire after riding an elephant while expressing concern about the pressure the animals come under.

Martin made the decision to climb on the majestic creature, by clinging on to his ears and walking up his trunk, for his TV show Martin Clunes: My Travels and Other Animals on ITV.

It aired on Thursday but after the shocking scenes, Born Free have spoken out and admitted that they will be talking to the actor ‘about the future’ for him at the charity.

In the show, the Doc Martin star admitted he was concerned about the ride, while discussing how using the animals for tourist purposes such as the ride was ‘a kinder life than hauling heavy logs’.

He added: ‘I am not sure it’s a fitting occupation for the largest land animal on the planet.’

Climbing up on to the elephant, he apologises and admitted he ‘didn’t want to hurt her’.

However, Will Travers, Born Free president, told The Mirror: ‘It is deeply unfortunate that Martin Clunes, while exploring the relationship between captive Asian elephants and the people of Nepal, rode a captive elephant… thereby re­inforcing the perception that this is an acceptable activity.’

In a statement, ITV said: ‘Martin was immersed in the experience to allow him to show viewers an up close perspective on modern conditions and their impact on the elephants.’

‘Throughout this and in conclusion, Martin made it very clear to viewers that he had serious concerns and reservations about elephants carrying people and would prefer to see the creatures in the wild,’ it continued.

‘Any suggestion that the programme or Martin endorsed cruel treatment of elephants would be misrepresentative and deeply unfair.’ has contacted reps for Martin and Born Free for comment.

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