It’s safe to assume that someone who makes their living by traveling the world and getting field samples from dangerous wild animals is a thrill seeker. Donald Schultz, the former host of Wild Recon on Animal Planet, has spent his career working with exotic animals. Perhaps his addiction to adrenaline is what led Schultz to start selling his subjects on the side.
According to this article from NBC Los Angeles, the former host pleaded guilty last month to selling two endangered Iranian desert monitor lizards without a permit. The part that doesn’t make sense to me is that Schultz apparently told NBC4 that he kept the lizards as pets and was selling them because he was moving.
Personally, I don’t buy it. You don’t sell your pets. You might want to find them a new home, and dire circumstances may even cause you to leave them behind, but you don’t sell them for profit.
After the introductory segment to each episode of Wild Recon, Schultz can be heard saying, “This is not a stunt; this is my job.” Well, it was his job, until he pulled this stunt. In one episode of Wild Recon, Schultz features a lizard called an Argus Monitor; he talks about how the species has been “hit hard by the marine toad” and how “these beautiful animals may very well go extinct.” Appearances can be deceiving—he sounds like a concerned animal expert, rather than an opportunist.
The kicker is that Schultz actually has experience re-homing exotic animals—that was actually the premise of a show called Animal Intervention on National Geographic, which co-starred animal advocate Alison Eastwood starred. In an article about the show on the National Geographic website, Schultz was quoted as saying, “only bad incidents get press” in reference to negative incidents involving exotic pet owners. He’s currently learning just how true that is.