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'Sarah Palin's Alaska': John Toppenberg Criticizes Reality Show's Bear Encounter For Alleged Violation Of Wildlife Guidelines (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/15/10 12:08 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:10 PM ET

Sarah Palin has come under fire from a local Alaskan conservationist for allegedly violating wildlife guidelines in her new reality TV show.

In a preview clip of "Sarah Palin's Alaska," which debuted Sunday night on TLC, Palin and her family are shown fishing near a group of protected brown bears. Although the family appears to show caution and even reverence for the wild animals, Alaska Wildlife Alliance director John Toppenberg told the Guardian, "It's clear from the video that she violated the guidelines," referring to an Alaska Department of Fish and Game policy requiring people in a boat to fish no closer to a bear than 30 feet.

Toppenberg tells the Guardian that Palin's actions send an irresponsible message to others, and while Joe Meehan of the wildlife conservation division of Alaska's Department of Fish and Game questions whether they were actually violating the guidelines, he is in agreement that "fishing in close proximity to bears may, in general, not send an appropriate message to large numbers of people that are not experienced at fishing in bear country."

Previously, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund had started a petition urging Discovery to pull "Sarah Palin's Alaska" from airing in response to her support of aerial wolf hunting. The petition currently has over 534,000 signatures.

What do you think? Was Palin blatantly disregarding environmental rules in her new TV show, or is this just a ridiculous thing to criticize her for? Check out TLC's clip below, and weigh in with your opinion by answering our poll and leaving your thoughts in the comments.

WATCH:

Quick Poll

What do you think of Sarah Palin fishing near the bears?

I think she violated wildlife guidelines and sent a bad message to the audience.

What's all the fuss? This is a silly thing to criticize her for.

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