Elephant DaZe (2015) - full transcript

Each day 100 African elephants are poached each and the death rate now exceeds the birth rate. Often the elephants are dismembered alive, their faces sawed off with chain saws in view of their infants and family who stand by protecting, but awaiting the same fate. Elephant extinction is imminent in less than 8 years if China does not close its state-sanctioned carving factories and legal ivory trade which is fueling an African elephant ecocide. In addition to the vast loss of elephant lives, this poaching inflicts a huge human and environmental toll. Elephant dung disperses seeds for 90 tree species in the rainforest which now is brown due to prolonged drought as a result of its missing gardeners: the elephant. The ivory poaching war is emptying forests and savannas in Africa, which is its tourist engine, and which is destabilizing governments. The poaching is putting poor people into an even worse situation. Ivory is a conflict resource fueling an annual $213 billion illegal wildlife trade orchestrated by terrorist groups: highly militarized actors who outgun and outpace rangers and who rape, kidnap, slaughter and murder animals and humans alike. Like blood diamonds, elephant ivory (AKA white gold) has become a conflict resource, enabling and sustaining a group of highly militarized actors across Africa.

[dramatic music]

[elephants rumbling]


[elephant trumpeting]

[helicopter roaring]

[tense music]

[gun firing]

[elephants trumpeting]

Jambo [Hello]

[spear thudding]
[elephants trumpeting]

[peaceful music]

[harp glissando]

- [Narrator] Our
ancestors originally came

from the tropical rainforest.

So, the tropical
rainforest in a sense,

is our Garden of Eden.
And the gardeners

in the Garden of Eden are the
megafauna: the orangutans,

the elephants, and
occasionally the rhinoceros,

believe it or not.

The fate of tropical rainforest

is inextricably tied to the
fate of these megafauna.

[elephant trumpeting]

So, do we need rainforests?

Of course we need rainforests.

We need oxygen,
we need to breath.

It's a cliché to say
by saving orangutans

or by saving elephants,
we are saving ourselves.

But it's actually true if
we look at the longterm.

Humans are very bad at
looking at the long term.

We want it now.

- Yes, it's always very
difficult in our terribly busy,

frantic, and dangerous world
to focus on non-human issues.

But nevertheless there is
a massive crisis going on

with wildlife around the world.

And it's not just the
charismatic species

that we're talking about.

[cub growling]

There are a ton
of smaller species

that are also under
massive threat and species

that we don't favor
quite so much.

[hyena cackling]

Evolution, or evolutionary
biologists, some might say,

and certainly
creationists might say,

and certainly religions might
say, that the human being

is the pinnacle of evolution.

[engine roaring]

[baboon screeching]

Well, if it is, we are one

of the stupidest
species on the planet.

Because I cannot think
of any other species

that goes around intentionally
trashing its own home.

So, if we're the
apex of evolution,

then if there is a God,
He made a real mistake.

- Once you understand there's
no sharp line dividing us

from the rest of the animal
kingdom and that we are part

of the animal kingdom and
not as we arrogantly suppose,

somehow separated, you
then can ask yourself,

"Well, okay how is it
that we're different?"

because we are different.

And I think it's the
explosive development

of the human intellect.

And so how come the most
intellectual species

to ever walk the planet is
wiping out the other life forms,

is destroying ecosystems...

Because this, in the end,

is going to lead
to our destruction.

So, we destroy these
animals at our own peril

without thinking of the
future of our own species.

[plane roaring]

The real cause of wildlife crime

is corruption, and
corruption, it's greed.

The real conflict
is powerful people,

many times government
officials, who are the ones

in the heart of organized crime,

that's basically activating
hundreds of poachers,

across many countries.

The illegal wildlife trade is
not rooted in poverty at all.

In fact, poverty has nothing
to do with this issue.

It is in fact, the
rich and the powerful

that actually are the
part of this problem.

- These are people that
have made reputations

and made a very, very, very
strong impact in the world

and they've made that impact
in a very violent way.

They've killed people, they've
executed entire families,

they've bribed officials,
they've put people in places

where they can make decisions

that impact policies
and governments.

You're not talking about you
know, your run of the mill,

poor poacher who's running
around with a 1947 rifle.

You're talking about
extremely powerful,

extremely influential
people in positions of power

that simply snap their fingers
and make people disappear.

- [Director] Why are
we not just going

in there with drones?

- I thought you wanted
to hear the answer

to the other question which
was a much better question.

- [Director] Okay,
so the question is,

are we losing this war?

- Yes, right now
we certainly are.

And it's not just that
we're losing the war,

the rate at which we are
losing the war is increasing.

There is evidence coming
across my desk every day

of the gravity of the situation.

It is more serious than anyone
can express standing here.

It's certainly easier to
say, well, it isn't that bad.

I'm looking at a small portion.

My job is to look
at the big scale.

I've worked in the
field in parks.

I've worked in countries.

I've worked on regions.

Now I look at bigger picture

and that bigger picture is
really serious right now.

- My interest in organized
crime came from years

of being a journalist,
working in conflict areas

and unstable areas of the world.

And what I found was
no matter where I went

whatever the so-called
problem of the day was,

was predicated on
crime and corruption.

The U.S. government
could have more impact

if we go after the networks
that facilitate all sorts

of organized crime,
instead of trying

to fight specific types
of organized crime.

There are far fewer people
who know how to launder

and move large amounts
of illicit cash

than there are poachers sneaking
into parks across Africa.

If we can stop the money,
make it harder for them

to move money through the
global financial system

we're going to have more
impact in shutting this down.

And not just the ivory problem,

but the human trafficking
problem, tax evasion,

the departure of
revenues from corrupt

and developing countries.

There are all sorts of
treaties that already exist

that prohibit the extraction
of natural resources

illegally from Africa.

We could be applying those
to the wildlife trade.

And we need to think about this

as not just a
ecological disaster

but a national security issues,

an international security issue.

The people who are moving ivory,

the people who are
moving rhino horn,

are the same people who
are moving young women

from Bangkok to
Africa and Europe,

the same people who
are moving drugs up

into consumer markets.

It's the people who
have the capacity

to move illegal products

through the global
transport system.

And it's the people
who have the capacity

to launder illicit money

through the global
transport system.

And so what the United States,

and pretty much every
other government does,

is they stovepipe all of
those different commodities

and they give different
departments the responsibility

to deal with those
different commodities.

So, we will have a department
that handles wildlife,

we'll have a department
that deals with narcotics

and a department that
handles terrorism.

And the bad guys are
all working together.

You know, you never
see a drug trafficker

in Afghanistan who says,

"I'm not giving that Al Qaeda
guy my heroine to carry.

"He doesn't have the
authorities to carry my dope."

No, they're all
working together.

- It's a wide range of
different kinds of groups.

Some are groups that
have been designated

as terrorist organizations
by the U.S. government.

Some are rebel militias, some
are organized crime networks

and some are actually
state actors,

military or police units
that are taking advantage

of natural resources in the
region, for their own profits.

- One of the biggest and
least discussed problems

in the world today is that
the illicit extraction

of resources from most
developing countries

is about 10 times what
they get in foreign aid.

So you're never going to
get ahead of this problem

until we can stop it.

If we can stop the money

we're gonna have more impact
in shutting this down.

We'll be able to have
much more of an impact

against these violent
networks if we go after them

for their totality of
their activities for drugs,

for wildlife, for
people, for guns.

I hear these going in Africa
as cheap as 75 dollars.

A better quality one may
be $100, $150, $200 dollars

depending on what they are.

- These are not
hunting guns, right?

- No, they're the best thing
ever made for shooting people.

Serious, that's
what they're for.

They're for shooting people.

It's not a competition gun.

It's not really
intended for hunting.

It's really probably one
of the most efficient guns

ever made for
shooting bad people.

That's why they are so
prolific in the world.

- This rhino horn here
weighs six, seven pounds.

I don't remember if this
is the front or the back.

I don't know that much
about them, but alls I know

is this right here
on the retail market

is worth about 650,000 dollars.

That amazes me to think
that, because what

that equivalates to is somewhere
around 35,000 of these.

When you got $650,000 dollars
in that horn right there

and you can buy a bunch
of these, how much terror

do you think this
whole game drives?

It's about a weapon
bought to kill an elephant

and then used to rob a bank.

It's about entire
local communities,
poor local communities,

getting exploited by
traffickers that arrive

and offer five,
six years salary.

Of course, they kill an elephant
for five years of salary

in Africa; they will do
it here in Los Angeles.

- What we got here is
about a four-foot tusk

that came off a 20
year old elephant.

This thing is worth
about 400,000 dollars.

You can see how that
drives the problem.

- So when we're talking
about the extinction

of those species, I'm
thinking of the cost in terms

of individual suffering,
to highly intelligent

and highly emotional beings.

And to me this is
absolutely terrible.

The sale of illegally
killed ivory is being used

to actually enable terrorists
groups to buy the weapons.

[dramatic music]

The terrible massacre
in Nairobi was funded

by the sale of ivory.

So, the whole
situation has escalated

into something that's
very frightening.

It's not only impacting
the elephants,

but it's also impacting
the security of nations.

It's incredibly important
that people wake up

and understand exactly
what's going on

and exactly the price in
suffering that's being caused.

[gun firing]

[dramatic music]

- The terrorist attack

on the shopping mall in Nairobi

was a big eye opener
for a lot of officials

in the defense department, in
the intelligence community,

in the law
enforcement community,

that actually there was
something to this link

between wildlife
trafficking and violence.

Al Shabaab could be defeated,
but I think the United States

and its partners
could be smarter

about combating the message
that these organizations give.

They shouldn't be engaging
in extortion, kidnapping,

all of that is haram,
forbidden by Islam.

Nobody takes them on according
to the precepts of Islam.

These guys who call
themselves Mullahs,

who call themselves
Holy Warriors, are
actually just crooks.

[tense music]

- You got Boko Haram,
you got ISIS over there,

you got all these
different people

that are running
child slavery, drugs,

whatever they're doing.

I mean you got child soldiers,

they're just brainwashed
to shoot anybody

that gets in their path.

The pictures I've seen is like,

I mean the elephants are,
trust me, that's bad,

but when you see what they
do to children it's like, uh.

- In the Democratic
Republic of Congo,

5.4 million people
were dead as a result

of war related
causes as of 2007.

And the fighting has
continued since then.

Joseph Kony has been
active as the leader

of the Lord's Resistance
Army for a very long time.

Hundreds of thousands of
children have been abducted,

enslaved, forced to
do hard labor, raped,

kept as sexual slaves.

And we know that one of
their most lucrative sources

of income is trading ivory.

They trade pieces of ivory
for things like, boots,

and bullets, boxes of
bullets for a piece of ivory,

carried by someone who's
forced to be a porter,

for hundreds of
miles in some cases.

Some of the products
that come out

of this organized crime
networks are found

in your cell phones and
your laptop computers.

But this is a personal issue

because we are buying
products that contain minerals

that come from this region.

- Every one of us in
the developed world

has some kind of mobile,
electronic device in our pocket.

And our mobile phones and
laptops need tantalum.

And one of the places on earth
where you can find tantalum

is underground in the
Democratic Republic of Congo.

And you have militias
fighting over bits of land

that they could control the
mining in and use the money

to buy guns, which has resulted
in millions of people dying,

and the decline in apes,
elephants, and hardwoods.

And in the illegal mines that
are controlled by rebels,

they feed the
workers on bushmeat.

If you're buying
tantalum from the DRC,

you are helping to fund armed
militias who are raping women

and using child labor to dig
the stuff out of the ground.

- Animals belong in the parks.

We don't have any connection
between us and animals.

Animals are for tourists;
they're not for us.


It has been like that
for a very long time.

But things are changing;
people have started

to understand we need to
protect these animals.

The biggest problem we have

is our local people
don't understand.

They have grown up with
these animals in the past.

They have lived with them,
they used to kill buffaloes

and rhinos and leave
some to survive.

But with the exit of the
colonial, when they left,

so they decided let's have
these animals in the parks.

The communities around
those animals felt

it is not up to us, it's
not our responsibility

to take care of these animals,
it's up to the government

of the day to do it.

So, even if they get killed,

even if you have poachers
coming in to kill animals,

it's up to them.

So there's this disconnect.

People really don't
really understand,

why there's such big fuss
about killing animals.

It's not a big deal;
it's not a very big deal.

Three decades ago we had 24,000
rhinos, now we have 1041.

That tells you that a child
who is, my four year old son,

will not have a chance of seeing
these rhino in the next 15,

20 years if something
is not done.

But most of the killings
that are taking place,

most of the rhinos that die,
die inside the protected area.

KWS knows who is killing
rhinos in this country.

They have admitted in the
past that rhinos are dying

and some of their own
personnel are involved.

What you can't get your
head around is how poachers

can manage to get
into national parks.

Last year for instance, for
instance, January last year,

we had a family of 12 elephants
killed on the same spot.

[somber music]

Twelve elephants, among
them a very small calf.

The poachers managed to walk
away with 22 ivory tusks.

You can't do it, 10
of you cannot do it.

22 ivory tusks,
10 armed poachers,

with their guns on their backs.

You have aerial surveillance;
you have ground boots,

boots on the ground
from KWS rangers,

and reinforcements
from other agencies.

And these people get away?

Something is very wrong,
something extremely wrong

in this country, yes.

[fire crackling]

- It's about tax evasion,
it's about funds to terrorism

and militias, it's
about money laundering.

So, the human toll is big.

So, the responsibility
of China is also that.

We should start talking to
the Chinese also about that.

Because behind an ivory
trinket bought in China,

there is someone, not something,

someone on the ground, dead.

[dramatic music]

You have basically two fronts,

you have the African front
and the Chinese front, okay?

The African front is
complicated, it's complex.

You have a lot of players,
all trafficking with ivory,

with rhino horn, with
other wildlife products.

The second front is China.

Right now, the single
most important factor

behind elephant poaching is the
legal ivory market in China.

It's very simple to understand;
it's not rocket science,

it's not happening on the
moon, it's happening in China.

So, the legal ivory market
in China is the reason

why you have a
huge illegal trade

and illegal underground
market in China.

It's acting like a
giant vacuum cleaner,

sucking up tons and tons of
ivory from all over Africa.

That's very easy to understand.

And the solution also is
very easy to understand.

They have to simply phase out

the legal ivory
market, that's it.

- In China, Vietnam
some of these rich guys

grind this stuff up and snort
it and make tea out of it.

I don't know what
they do, but they seem

to think it makes
their dick hard.

You know what I mean?

That's what they
make Viagra for.

I mean, come on.

You need to kill a fucking
rhino to get your dick hard?

You got a bigger
problem than you think.

- When we look at the commercial
exploitation of wildlife,

we always look at
the whole chain,

from poaching to
trafficking to demand.

We focus on all three major
links on that trade chain.

This legal market is providing
cover for illegal trade

and it also confuse
the consumers

and makes them feel
it's okay to buy ivory.

- [Narrator] In 2007 a
CITES one-off ivory sale

created an insatiable
Asian demand

which drove this global
poaching epidemic.

- We found that
70% of the Chinese

do not know ivory comes
from dead elephants.

In Chinese, elephant tusk
is called elephant teeth.

And so when it's,
teeth people thought

that you know a person's
teeth can fall off

and a person
doesn't have to die.

- You know, I go to
China every year.

I have been for
many, many years.

And I didn't realize that
so many of the Chinese

believe that elephants
shed their tusks

just like stags
shed their antlers.

The Chinese people are beginning

to wake up to the
seriousness of the situation.

It's important that
people understand
that the United States

has been the second
largest importer

of illegal ivory after China.

- It's not enough that
we're pointing fingers

at the Chinese.

We should look at ourselves,
and what we've done

to Africa and what we
owe the African continent

for what we've taken from them.

It's something that
we as Americans

have to take
responsibility for, too.

It's not just Chinese who
are suddenly buying all

of the ivory.

We have a long history
of doing it ourselves,

starting in the 1800s

when we imported tusks
for what purpose?

We had elephants killed in
order to make billiard balls,

the ivory keys for
pianos, for knick-knacks.

Millions of elephants
died for our purposes.

- [Narrator] Every elephant
tusk represents the death

or enslavement of five Africans.

It is simply incredible
that, because ivory

is required, the rich heart of
Africa should be laid waste.

That populations,
tribes and nations

should be utterly destroyed.

Whom after all does this
bloody seizure enrich?

- When firearms came to Africa,

that's when elephant
numbers started to plummet.

It was thought that then there

were probably 10 million
elephants in Africa,

now there are fewer
than half a million.

So, we've lost 95% of the
workforce of the forest,

that recycles nutrients,
disperses seeds

and creates the
forests of tomorrow.

- We're running out of time.

There was room for

There is no more
margin for error.

Things are so desperate
in so many places,

that either we fix the
problem in the coming days,

weeks and months, and not
even years, or it very likely,

in many places in
Africa will be too late.

[dramatic music]

- I think a lot of non-profits

overwhelm their audience
with doom and gloom.

And so I think collectively
we need to find a better way

to disseminate this information.

And again get people
inspired and empowered.

That's why I think
you still have

to look for those gems of hope.

And that's one of the reasons
why, right now I'm trying

to focus more on the
survivors of these poaching.

So, what a lot of people
don't recognize and realize

is that not all
poached animals die.

So, we actually have
a lot of survivors

on the continent of Africa.

Orphaned rhinos,
orphaned elephants,

there's a whole new
generation of animals

being raised that have
gone through traumas.

[peaceful music]

- So, the one in
front is Mashariki,

followed by Lakipi, Valdo,
Moisha, Emilio, Pundani & Aruba.

Well, all these babies
have become orphans

due to different reasons.

Some of them, their mothers
have been killed by poachers,

due to increase in
the trade on ivory,

which is a real, real
problem at the moment.

'Cause normally,
they're not found alone,

they should be with
their families.

And some of them some of
them have become orphans

from human wildlife conflict,

which means they've
been separated

from their mothers
by human beings.

- There is an unofficial
high mortality rate

among orphans in Africa,
elephant orphans.

They're using these
homemade recipes

that no one has really properly
researched or documented.

But I think there's
more to the equation.

I think it may be
sort of a combination

of medical, emotional
needs, social needs.

When you have a
survivor of a poaching,

whether it's an orphan
who's witnessed his

or her mother killed or
an attempted poaching.

Sometimes an animal will
have a traumatic wound

that they survive.

What we see is that they
have these emotional,

behavioral profiles similar

to post-traumatic
stress disorder.

And oftentimes if we don't
immediately intervene

and sort of act as
their mother figure,

they give up the will to live.

So, you don't always lose
orphans due to a medical issue,

oftentimes it can just
be an emotional issue.

- There's been an
increase in terms

of the number of orphans

that are coming to us, which
means poaching is increasing,

but you know poaching
is not the only reason

that is causing
them to be orphans,

but it is the main reason.

Others are orphans from
human-wildlife conflict,

they have been separated from
the families by human beings,

due to increase in
the population of man,

compared to the space
or size of land.

And that causes the
fights every now and then.

[speaking in Swahili]

- The poachers want
the big elephants

with the tusks.

Usually those are the
eldest animals, the females,

the matriarchs, the
grandmothers, who
know where to go

and what to do
and how to behave.

So, with them gone,
when they're taken out

of the population,
what do you have left?

You have teenagers.

You have, just imagine
if in your town,

if all the adults suddenly
vanished and all you had left

were the teenagers of the high
school or the junior high.

How well do you think
society would operate?

- You know, saving the
world is not a part time job

and it is not without risk.

We've been seeing things
going in the wrong direction

in most places for many years.

And it's just not an issue
that you can quantify

with wildlife surveys.

What we've been seeing is the
collapse of the way of life

that has served
Africa for millennia,

the relationship between people
and the natural resources.

- You've got to save every one

of these animals
in the rainforest.

You got to save the
habitat. What we've seen

in a lot of these places that
saving the habitat itself

is not enough because poaching
is so strong in some places

that it just cleans
out whatever species

are out there in the forest.

[elephants trumpet]

And the elephants, of course,

are a critical element
in these rainforests.

Elephants are the
bellwether of Africa.

As elephants go, so
will everything else go.

They're so big,
they're so dominant,

they're now so valuable, that
the best way to get a read

on the natural state of an area,
that should have elephants,

is to go in and see if
they're there are not,

usually it's not now.

If they like to breathe,

it's probably a good thing
to save the forest, isn't it?

But maybe they don't
think about that.

They want a stable
climate you have to look

at the integrity
and the function,

it's called ecosystem services.

- [Jane] The elephants
open up the forests

so that new life can grow,

they transport
seeds in their dung.

Chimpanzees do exactly
the same; they take seeds

and spread them
around in the forest.

[peaceful music]

[elephants trumpeting]

[leaves rustling]

- Elephants disperse
more seeds individually,

of more species of
trees and other plants,

further than any other animal.

And they do that
wherever they live.

So, 50 countries, 37 in Africa,

13 in Asia, have natural
elephant populations.

[mysterious music]

- [Mike] Elephants in particular
are unique in the sense

that their digestive
process is so intense

there are seeds
from certain trees

that will not germinate
unless they've passed

through an elephant's gut.

So, the reason that people
kill trees in Africa

is because they want
the carbon that's stored

in the tree as a fuel.

They want to use
it for charcoal.

[smoke hissing]

The forest is an
extremely valuable asset

that the government has to
try and keep its hands off.

If they don't and that
forest disappears,

we will never keep
climate to two degrees.

If you value the forest,

protect the gardeners
of the forest.

They are not ornaments,
they are not things

to go and see on holiday.

Every gorilla, every
elephant, every howler monkey

in Latin America, or
tapir, are working for us,

dispersing seeds for
the trees of tomorrow.

And if we want
those carbon stores

and those rainwater-generating
forests to continue

into the next century,
we have to make sure

that the seeds are being
sown today to do that job.

People think there's a forest

and then you put
some animals in, no.

The animals and the
trees and the bacteria

are all part of that
forest ecosystem.

And one of the
things that gorillas

do spectacularly well
is produce manure.

A gorilla will eat and
produce something like,

between 10 and 20 kilos
of dung every day.

That's about one
hundred kilos a week.

In 10 weeks that's
a ton of manure

being spread around the forest.

And in that manure are seeds.

Elephants are even
more important

as gardeners of the forest.

If gorillas are the
gardeners of the forest,

elephants are the
because they're so big.

But we're so taken
aback by how powerful

they are, we think
they're indestructible.

[leaves rustling]

As human development has
grown and elephant habitat

has shrunk, the elephants
are constantly coming up

against people who
are unfriendly, who
are chasing them out

of their crops, who are trying

to defend their livelihood
from the elephants.

And the elephants
are seen as an enemy.

And that the latest
manifestation of this,

that I've experienced
is charcoal.

Because for most
families in Africa

they don't have electricity,
they don't have gas.

If they got to cook, they
need either wood or charcoal.

In many cities,
the charcoal trade

is a multi-million dollar
business, which means anyone

who can pay people a pittance
to go and cut down trees,

or even just branches of
trees, build a charcoal kiln

and bring out a few
bags of charcoal,

they'll be paid a few
dollars. And that charcoal

is worth a lot of
money in the city.

The first day we went out
in the forest reserve,

we saw three
charcoal operations.

The elephants were right
next to the charcoal

and were obviously agitated.

The matriarch clearly felt

that we were posing
a threat to them.

She started running towards us.

I didn't want to
be hit from behind,

so I turned around
and I was rumbling,

sort of a [imitates rumbling],

as we do when we
approach the elephants.

She was really moving. [laughs]

I was still running backwards,
still trying to placate her

when she hit me and I put
my hands up to her face.

And when I turned to face
her and then the camera

hit the elephant's
face against my hand.

But that turned the camera off.

And it left me on
my hands and knees

when I completed the backward
roll, under the elephant.

And she started playing
football with me.

After five seconds,
one of the kicks

happened to knock the
camera and turn it on again.

[camera clicking]

[elephant trumpets]

A second later, you hear

[gun firing]

which is the rangers who
had fired a shot, in the air

and the elephant fled.

She came to chase
the humans away,

who were hassling her family.

Now in human society, we
give people like that medals.

[elephant rumbling]

- The growth in the human
population and its footprint,

is a major threat, probably
the single biggest threat,

to wildlife persisting
into the long term.

Simply because it doesn't
have to take all the land away

from wildlife, it fragments it.

We take the best bits, we leave
the worst bits for wildlife.

Now, a population that used
to live in a particular area

is two populations separated

by human settlements
in the middle.

So, they can't literally get
in contact with each other.

So one of the biggest
challenges out there is the fact

that the human population,
currently about seven

and a bit billion people on
this planet, is going to rise

to eleven billion people
by the end of this century.

And the question then is,
is there room for wildlife?

- There is an actual movement
in conservation to focus

on population reduction in
humans as an indirect way

to improve wildlife

So, one approach has
been for conservationists

to teach population control and
offer reproductive education

to the women who
live in the villages.

So, they've seen the
childbirth, you know,

the growth has flat-lined
in those villages.

- [Narrator] The
desert elephants of
Namibia's Kunene Region

are one of only two
populations of desert elephants

in the world, the other
is in Mali, North Africa,

approximately 150
individuals remain here.

- Why am I pessimistic?

Just because of the
numbers of humans on earth.

And elephants are disappearing

and I can't just wave
a magic wand or jump

to action and save them.

That's part of being
wildlife biologists

is you see a lot of death and
you get to see the rare birth

that balances out all
the, all the death.

It was a life changing
experience for me.

I knew I wanted to
work with elephants.

We thought originally
we'd go back to Zimbabwe

and work there,
but then Zimbabwe

went extremely
downhill, very fast.

- Yeah.

- In Zimbabwe, you know when
our friends would go out

on an anti-poaching
patrol, suddenly this

was a military operation
in the national park,

where they would
hand out the weapons

and their lives were
out there on the line.

And so it takes that level
of commitment, of individuals

and a commitment of society,
in order to turn it around.

They're a lot of people that
do value the elephants there.

And then there are a number of
people, like in any society,

they won't appreciate
what they have or had,

until it's gone.

- The bigger problem
we're dealing with

with desert elephants is
not so much ivory poaching,

it's attitudes of the people
who live with elephants,

who pay the price,
through destroyed crops

or, you know, untimely
death of relatives

or friends from elephants
or lions, whatever it is.

[somber music]

So, we need people
to go to Namibia,

spend their tourist dollars,
pay the local people

to tell them about
their lifestyle,

make the elephants
worthwhile to those people,

by sharing the wealth
that we have here,

with those people there and
then elephants will be valued.

In 2012, we went to Africa
and we got to a village

that we know very well.

Just two days after,
one of our elephants,

one of our known
elephants, had been killed

by the authorities for
being a problem animal.

And we didn't know
which elephant it was,

but we arrived there
and all that was left

of his carcass was an ear.

I looked at my ID book of all
the elephants and who's who,

based on their ear
patterns and I said

"Oh, this is M7, Mr. Sneaky".

The local guy who was
showing us the carcass said,

"Well, the meat was given
to the local people to eat,"

and he said,

"Don't you like elephant meat?"

And I said, "I would
never eat an elephant,

"it would be like
eating a family member."

And he thought that was
the strangest thing.

We were feeling
extremely discouraged

and decided we're done.

Let's just go and say
goodbye to the elephants

and we're done.

The next day we came upon our
favorite group of elephants,

the tuskless matriarch,
and the teenage daughter,

whose name is Dorothy,
was showing some breasts.

Dorothy starts to
act very strangely

and all of a sudden out
comes this birth sac

and poosh on the ground,
a baby elephant is born.

[elephant rumbles]

[gentle, peaceful music]

[elephant rumbles]

We both said, "This is it".

"How can we give
up at this point?"

- We're all in again, all in.


We're going for
it, laying it out

on the line in order to
turn the tide on extinction.

[upbeat music]

- [Narrator] Humans and wildlife

compete for natural resources.

Male elephants more often
raid crops than do females

in order to gain size and
reproductive advantage.

These crop raiders are then
considered problem elephants.

- In case of human wildlife
conflict, we always follow up.

If an elephant comes into
a farm and you kill it,

you can't be charged.

It's the only income that
farmer might have for that year.

He's relying on it
to feed his family.

He's relying on it to
educate his kids, whatever.

So, in two minutes an
elephant will go in there

and destroy a whole
year's worth of crops.

So, you can understand
why you get out of bed

in the middle of the night and
throw a spear at an elephant.

So, these are spears that
we've confiscated off poachers.

Again, they poison the
blade so when it goes in,

it's not only the spear
that does the damage,

it's the poison that
finishes it off.

The worst is when you dig
one out of a dead elephant.

Sometimes it kills
it quite quickly.

I say quickly, 10, 15 minutes.

Sometimes it takes
days, sometimes months.

Poisoning spears is a new thing.

It never used to happen before.

It's a new technique.

But also they're
using pesticides now.

They've ramped it up.

There's pesticides
available on the market

and you can just go buy that
from the veterinary shop,

soak your arrow or
your spear in it,

and it's more lethal than
the traditional poison.

[elephant screeching]

- Human-elephant conflict
is a huge problem

in Laikipia County
and the levels of
human-elephant conflict

are probably amongst the worst
in the whole of East Africa.

We got a call from one of
our scouts in the field,

who gave us some
information about elephants

being stuck in a dam.

You had seven bull
elephants who had crop

raided the night before.

And once we closer, it
became clear these elephants

weren't stuck at all,
but that the community

was actually holding
them hostage.

I mean you had 400
people screaming

and yelling in all
directions and the elephants

didn't know which way to go.


[helicopter whirring]

And the arrival of this
helicopter sent the population

into a frenzy because they
wanted to harvest the meat,

so at least they
would have something.

People would prevent them
from leaving, you know,

by shouting or by
throwing stones

and by driving
fire towards them.

This elephant made a
desperate attempt to escape.

And it charged
into the shallows.

Now you had an elephant
on the run amongst people.

This act of bravery, I suppose,

encouraged the other elephants

so they managed to get out
as well, once the helicopter

pushed the people and
cleared the way for them.

It's really tough for
conservationists because people

look at us and say,

"Ah, you know we only
care about the elephants.

"We don't care
about the people."

This is not true,

but these are the
perceptions that go around.


- You can't ignore
that human need

in solving the
conservation problems.

This generation is the
generation that's now

in conflict for the first time

in many, many, many generations.


It's not a cultural
norm for them to be

in conflict with wildlife.

They didn't conquer the
wilderness the way the pioneers

did in North America perhaps,

where there were dangerous
animals that were killed

to make the land
safe for families.

If you can work with
them to see the wildlife

and the wilderness as an
asset, there is still time.

This challenge that
wildlife faces now

is not about changing wildlife.

The group that has to
change is the humans.

[crowd chattering]

- [Narrator]
Human-elephant conflict

threatens elephant survival.

Translocating, or moving,
'problem' elephants

is one conservation strategy.

But translocation intensifies
human-elephant conflict

and increases elephant deaths.

[elephant crying]:

- Another example of how
we know elephants behave

when they don't have
their elders around

is from young elephants
that have been translocated.

So, they move in
elephants that perhaps

have seen their
family members culled,

all of the family members
killed in another park

in South Africa, where they felt

there were too many elephants.

So, they kill all the adults,
they take the youngsters

and move them out
to another park.

[elephants screaming]

- My name is Barbara Wiseman,

and I'm the
international president

of the Lawrence Anthony
Earth organization.

Lawrence had told me there
was a troublesome herd,

they hated people, because
people had killed most

of the herd off.

- If I didn't take them they
were all going to get put down.

So, I said, "Sure,
absolutely, we'll take them".

- [Barbara] The
matriarch knew how

to push over an electric fence

and short it out and
escape with her herd.

They had game rangers, the
game rangers all had guns,

some of them were
intending to kill them.

Finally, the helicopter
pilot got them back.

[helicopter whirring]

- [Lawrence] The
authorities just said,

"Don't have anything to do

"with the elephant when
they're in the boma,

"just leave them."

And last time we did
that, they broke out.

So, I figured you know
somehow they have to learn

to trust at least
one human being.

[dramatic music]

- [Barbara] So, he decided to
stay with them 24 hours a day,

for as long as it took,
to get them used to him.

And every morning the matriarch
would stand at the fence

looking like she was going
to make a break for it.

If an elephant breaks
through an electric fence

with their body once,
they realize that they can

withstand the
charge long enough,

that you can never
hold them again.

And Lawrence would stand
just outside of her reach

and talk to her.

- [Lawrence] Hello, my baby
beautiful, hello, my bubba.

Hello, my beautiful girl.

Yes, come on, come
on, come, bubba.

- [Barbara] Lawrence
was staying with them,

they were incredibly hostile.

If they could have got him,

they would have pulled him in

and stomped him into the ground.

So, after three weeks of this,
one day Lawrence described it

as though all of the
hostility turned off,

like you would turn off a
light switch, just boom.

- [Lawrence] Everything had
gone calm and the matriarch

walked up to me.

And she approached
me and I backed off,

and she stood there,
very benignly,

ears down, great
emotion around her.

Eventually I stepped
forward to the fence,

and she put her trunk
through and touched me.

And I thought, "Well, that's
it, I'll let them out."

[peaceful music]

[elephant rumbling]


- [Barbara] They could be a
mile away, but if they heard it

was Lawrence they would come
like puppy dogs to see him.

- [Lawrence] Whenever I come
back, the day I come back,

when I drive in, they'll
come up to the house.

The herd emanates something,
it emanates something

at a different level.

Being in proximity
to a herd, apart

from watching the
physical manifestations

and their body languages, you
actually get an emanation.

- The elephants had been
living with Lawrence

for about 12 years
when he passed away.

The elephants were
about 12 miles

from the house, and
they perceived it.

And they walked to the
house, in mourning, very sort

of sad aspect; and when
they got to the house,

just very agitated they
were usually very calm,

very peaceful, but they
were very agitated.

And they stayed around the
house for about three hours

and then they disappeared.

Interestingly, every year
since then, on the anniversary

of his death, they've
returned to the house.

[elephant trumpets, lion roars]

- You know, lions are not
getting the attention.

It's up to us people
in the field to try

and stop the poisoning.

It's all about the cattle.

People don't boma, corral
their stock, properly anymore.

So lions get in.

There's a lot more cattle,
there's a lot more people.

- So now we have a
surge in cattle numbers

and when they start to
invade the wildlife space,

that's when you get conflict.

And then of course, people,
if they lose a goat,

or a cow, they retaliate.

And they go after the hyena
or the leopard or the lion.

And there are only
20,000 lions in Africa.

- Well, I was a surfer at the
coast and my dream of going

into the bush and playing Tarzan

and becoming a great game
man, wildlife man in Africa,

was sort of lost in the
waves and the lifestyle.

When I met Joy, I
had written to her

and said "Have you got any
openings, and she said,

"Well, I have nothing
going, but I know my husband

"is looking for someone,
because his previous assistant

has just been killed
by one his lions."

And I thought,
"Great, that sounds

"like the sort of
thing I want to do."

When I joined George, his
pride was down from 11 to 3.

And amongst them were
two females: Lisa,

who was very affectionate,
Juma, whom you couldn't handle,

because she'd been very
badly treated on capture

and Christian, the lion
that came from England.

[dramatic music]

Christian was coming
up to two years old,

he really didn't know
what he was doing.

I didn't have a clue.

Christian and I grew up
together, and got into all sorts

of scrapes, had
all sorts of fun,

and we taught each other
everything we knew.

They're very loving and they're,

you can form a very close
relationship with them,

but you got to watch it.

It's an occupational hazard.

You know, racing drivers have
car crashes and you know,

painters fall off ladders,
and it's no worse than that.

It makes for a better story.

- [Director] Is this
one of the lions

that you guys were raising?

- No, it was part
of a wild pride

that we brought up
when their mother died.

Not a lion we'd ever handled.

But then eventually he got me.

All I could do was go fetal.

I could hardly...I kept
sort of coming and going.

And then he got me through
the neck and strangled.

George did the most
wonderful things

because what he did with the
respect and the understanding

that he had for
these wild animals

and the way he carried it out

and just the whole
toughness of it.

I mean, there he
was day and night,

you know, 365 days a
year out in the bush

with a pride of lions.

And they're lovely.

[flamingos honking]

So, I feel very
sad, I never thought

that in the short period
of time, nearly 50 years,

that I've been in Africa, I
would see wild animals go down,

you know, to such low
levels and be regarded

in such a low light.

[tires on pavement]

It's just horrific how
things can change so fast.

You know, it's just
people against wildlife

and looking after
wildlife isn't difficult.

It's not rocket science, but
you just got to make sure

that if there's crime,
there's punishment.

And none of the big boys ever
go down that are behind this,

and you don't see
any middlemen caught.

Certain tribes punch
way above their weight

and just ignore the laws.

The attractively dressed
people that the Western world

loves so much are the worst
offenders in all of this.

Lions used to be poisoned

with a very readily available
cattle dip called Kopertox.

Now they're use an insecticide,
which is even more virulent,

called Furadan, which
comes from America.

It's meant to be banned,
of course it isn't,

you can buy it anywhere.

And that's what comes with
the increase in stock numbers.

- It starts with some lions
going into an enclosure,

the residue carcass getting
spliced with this poison.

The lions coming back, they
get killed, hyenas come in,

they get killed, the
vultures come in,

they get killed, it's horrific.

Lions and leopards in
particular are very capable

of jumping over and climbing
into these enclosures.

Leopard in particular, they
go on kind of killing phase.

It's like kill
everything that moves.

The owner of that livestock
is not best pleased,

to put it mildly.

Many of them will kill
the offending leopard

or kill the offending lion.

Almost all these predators
don't like people.

Elephants don't like people.

Fully understandable,
we're the big baddies.

Okay, Light for Life,
it's the deployment

of a LED lighting system,
a flashing lighting system

around the periphery of
livestock enclosures.

[calf mooing]

These flashing lights actually
represent human movement,

activity within the enclosures.

If you stop the predator

going into the boma,
then there is no need

for retaliatory killing.

Then they don't need
to go out with a spear.

They don't need to lay poison.

They are prepared
to accept living

in proximity...as they
have done for generations.

[lion grunting]

- For the last fifteen years,

I've run my own safari
hunting company,

which is basically
trophy hunting.

I believe in hunting.

I don't see anything wrong
in shooting an animal.

I don't necessarily say you
should shoot a trophy animal.

- [Director] Why are
animals trophies?

- It's a memento of the
experience of the hunt.

So you keep something
from your experience.

Because the trophy hunting
fraternity likes to say

that we're not just
there to kill something,

it's about the experience.

It's not about the trophy.

It's all about being
in the wilderness

and pursuing something.

In many cases underage animals
will get shot, even females.

Females are not
allowed to be shot.

If you do shoot a female, it's
a transgression of the law.

Certain species are very
susceptible to this, like lion.

Because in the field,
it's incredibly easy

to change the rules.

There's no one around for
miles except the game scout,

who works for me, I pay him.

You'll do a hunt of 10 days,
that's 2,500 dollars you earn.

$2,500 is a reasonable amount,
I believe, for 10 days.

Some people don't
think so, so they rely

on a gratuity at the
end of the safari.

And so, the client would be,
"Well, why can't I shoot that?"

So, then the professional
hunter starts thinking,

well if I let him shoot it,

maybe he'll give me
a better gratuity.

You've got to weigh up
your ethics and your morals

within an instant in the field.

Everyone brands the term,
hunters are conservationists.

They are in that sense,
but there's lots of hunters

who don't stick to that.

And look, mistakes happen.

Lots of mistakes
have happened to me.

If someone tells me, as
a professional hunter,

they've never made a
mistake, they're lying.

I'd call them a
liar to their face.

You know things do happen.

[tense music]

Taking a photograph is,
you're just viewing,

you're not
participating in action.

And, the act of hunting
is not about killing.

It's about that
participation in nature

and with each individual animal.

We as hunters tout, you know,

"Hunting is conservation.

"It's the best form
of conservation."

What I've seen in my lifetime

is that our wilderness areas
have just been depleted.

- [Director] So when
you kill an animal,

you don't think it's murder,
you don't think it's--

- I cry, I've hunted
lion, every lion that one

of my clients has taken, I cry.

Because I, I feel
that it's not right

to take that animal's life, he
has lived a life like I have.

[dramatic music]

When you're hunting antelope,
there's thousands of them.

So, it's not a big event.

The work and effort that goes
into the hunting of a lion

is worthy of the
respect to the animal.

For me, it's their life.

Especially a male lion,

they go through hardships,
they're survivors.

Because they get
kicked out of the pride

when they're two or three
years old and they have

to make it on their own.

When you find a male lion
that is past his prime,

when he is nine, 10 years
old, he has been through

so much in that span of time,
it's worthy of adoration.

It sounds stupid
to now go kill him,

but you know, that's
what we have to do.

That's part of the system.

The very first elephant
hunt I went on was

with my stepfather and the
number of elephants he killed

is insignificant to what
other people have done.

We didn't boast about
shooting elephants.

Before that, you know,
the great white hunters,

they were shooting
thousands of elephants.

They'd cut out the tusks
and cut out the heart

and eat that and move on.

- [Director] Why do people
want to eat the heart?

- I would not personally
shoot an elephant

just for its heart.

But it, you know that's
the best tasting part

of an elephant is the heart.

But to go and kill an
elephant just to have that,

no, you don't do that. [laughs]

With an elephant once
it's dead, it's a process.

You start butchering
the elephant.

Now to cut through
the skin takes,

maybe two hours to
get the skin off.

When you reach the heart,
it's considered a delicacy,

so you make a fire,
you cut it open,

and you start cooking
it on the fire.

And you put a bit of salt on it,

and you start cutting
little bits off of it

as you're working,
throughout the day.

I wouldn't say I despise

the trophy hunting
movement entirely,

because it does
serve some function

to bringing clients to Africa.

Hunting is not about collecting
as many animals as you can,

getting a gold Super
Bowl-style ring.

And that is what the
largest hunting club

in America promotes.

They want you to shoot as
many animals as you can

and then you become part
of the inner circle,

and you get a ring.

You get numerous
awards before that.

But that is not what
hunting is about.

The American hunter
thinks my 100,000 dollars

that I've paid, all of that goes

back into conservation,
it doesn't.

Wow, look at that.

- Oh yeah, we have
boxes and boxes.

- [Director] What are those?

- These are elephant
hair bracelets.

- [Director] And
where are they from?

- They're the hair that comes
from an elephant's tail.

So they used to be very
popular, but I guess nowadays

they're would be a social
issue with wearing them.

You get about twenty
bracelets from a tail.

- Just this one bag would
be five or six, right?

Because there's a hundred,
there's 179 bracelets in here.

- That's what we see
the most common thing

on the elephant is
they chop the tusks out

and take the tail, those
are the two parts they take.

- [Director] How old
is that elephant?

- An adolescent, maybe
twelve, twelve years.

It's still a baby.

It's not right,
that they end up,

an elephant ends up for
this, to satisfy some,

you know, put on
someone's mantelpiece.

That's not what they're,
they're too majestic

and special to end up here.


[dramatic music]

[gun clicking]

[wings fluttering]

In terms of trophy hunting,
I don't do that anymore.

- [Director] But you'll
take people to Africa,

so, you're like a
middleman for murder.

- Middleman for murder?

I guess you could
look at it that way,

that's an extreme
view, though. [laughs]

Because, what do you call it?

The, what do you call
it? The abattoir,

murderous chain is
already set up there.

So, rather have a
good guy doing it

than a bad guy abusing it.

In Africa, it's a
different situation

with the trophy hunting because
the animals are utilized.

The finances, the
money that comes in

from the utilization
of those animals,

gets put back into

- [Director] But it doesn't.

Who takes the money?

- The majority of the money
that is made from trophy hunting

remains within the
government circles.

I would say, 70% remains

within the circles
of administration.

Game numbers are
often fabricated,

because if you have
high game numbers

it means you can
harvest more, you know.

So, the utilization of the money

that comes from hunting,
very little filters through

to what it's intended for.

It's intended to make
the communities living

within those hunting areas
benefit: education, medical,

an upliftment of their lives,
for not utilizing that land.

And secondly, the
conservation of the animals,

that money is meant to conserve.

- People have become much more
environmentally conscious,

much more green.

And in particular when
it comes to something

like African wildlife where you
read the shocking statistics

and people want to do
something about it.

So, when you're talking
about 75,000 dollars,

for instance to hunt an
elephant, or to hunt a lion,

or something like that,
most of that money

is actually going to
the professional hunter.

You've got the person
from the United States,

often as not, who comes
here to hunt an animal.

And he engages a hunting
safari operator here,

a professional hunter, and
the bulk of that money goes

to that individual: the
50, 60, 70,000 dollars.

And only a small portion
of that actually goes

to the government in
the form of the license

that they pay for the
right to kill an animal.

So, 4,500 dollars and they share

that between the
communities in the area

of the hunting concession.
So, it's peanuts.

You're not going to get
hundreds of thousands

of people coming to hunt.

You're going to get
hundreds of thousands

of people coming to
take photographs.

Two things actually seem
obvious, to me anyway.

One is that there should
be more of an emphasis

on photographic safari
tourism and the second

is that they ought
to raise the fee

that they charge these
hunters to come in

and hunt an animal.

So, over the span
of its lifetime,

a lion would generate three
and half million dollars

in photographic safari
tourism revenue.

An elephant is something
over a million.

But the professional hunters
have to come to terms

with the effects of
poaching on their industry.

There just aren't that
many animals left anymore.

- [Director] What was the
impetus to take hunting out

of the safari business?

- I have to go back
many, many years.

Really, it almost goes
back to my childhood.

I grew up in Africa,
we all hunted,

it was a thing we just did.

We hunted the Maasai Mara,

where the Masaai Mara
game reserve is today.

The climax of the whole safari
was to shoot an elephant.

I shot the elephant,
the elephant charged,

and the elephant died, literally
within a few feet of me.

When I saw this elephant dead,

it was like this horrendous
feeling came over me.

- [Director] Did you cry?

- I said, "How could
I have done this?"

No, I didn't cry, I just felt,

I just felt shocked, "How
could I have done this?"

Beautiful animal, dead.

There's something about a hunt,

if you've done it, which
is very, very thrilling.

You can't take the
higher ground here,

oh, it's just terrible
to hunt, you know?

Why do people hunt?


Because it's thrilling,
it's exciting.

So, I said, "Well how can
I have an exciting feeling

"about my safaris,
like when I was young?"

So, I built the first
camp in the world,

you see all these tented
camps all over the world?

Mine was the first camp ever.

- [Director] In Kenya?

- No, in the world.

And so I hit America, in about
1966, or '67, with a slogan:

Hunt with a camera, not a gun.

[plane roaring]

[soaring, uplifting music]

I felt like a missionary.

I came all over saying
"No, don't hunt!"

Have all the thrill of the
hunt, but at the last minute

instead of going
bang, you'd go pop,

and you'd have a
lovely picture forever.

And I used to go and stay
with all the people in Texas

and they had these huge
trophy rooms and I would say,

"No, this over!" "No, we're
going on our next hunt, Geoff,

"we're gonna do this,
why don't you come with?"

And I said "No, no, no,
I've got this idea."

And they go, "What the?

"That sounds so pathetic,
that's a girl's thing.

"Girls do photographs,
men hunt."

And I said, "No, no
you have it wrong."

So, what was better?

To hunt, or to go
into photography?

Everybody ridiculed
it, the answer was,

"Of course, photography!"

It was the best thing ever.

- [Narrator] For
every $1.00 invested

in protecting elephants
in East Africa,

they get back $1.78
in tourism revenue.

- Where are all the guys
who used to go hunting?

Still running around
in their Toyotas,

shooting a few
elephant, you know?

[chain breaking]

People who hunt always claim

they're the most knowledgeable
conservationists on earth.

They say that if
they weren't there,

what would happen to the land?

It would just go back to cattle.

They say, "If we weren't
there policing our concession,

"the poachers would come in
and eradicate all the animals."

When I was born,

there were 500,000
lions in Africa.

I don't know how many there are,

but we know 36,000 elephants
are being killed every year.

We know that.

- [Narrator] Just 20,000 lions

remain on the entire
African continent.

The continent of Africa
is as big as China, India,

the United States and
most of Europe combined.

- So, it's clearly
not sustainable,

if you're gonna be
shooting an animal.

So, how can anybody
look at me and say,

"I'm a professional hunter

"and I'm the world's
greatest conservationist."

There's something
missing in their brain.

And they gotta
wake up, actually,

because this is not sustainable.

[birds tweeting]

- Fifty percent of the trophies
go to the United States.

So, we play a role in this also.

I guess, I'm, you know,
loathe to put all the blame

on any one country, but
something's got to be done.

Our role should be supporting

what African governments
themselves are doing.

Because if the African people,
and the African governments

don't want to
preserve the wildlife,

there's really nothing that
we can do from the outside.

Our job actually is to
convince them that it's

in their best interest
to preserve these animals

for the future.

- We cannot tell
local communities,

"Oh, we feel that in
America or in England,

"that it's really bad
for them to hunt lions."

They'll say "Why is it
bad for us to hunt lions?

"They destroy, they destroy.

"They eat our cattle,
they're a nuisance to us."

But if you can convince
them, "No, that lion

"is no longer a nuisance
to you, it's going

"to bring these
amount of people.

"Even if it kills a cow
now and again, so what?

"This is what it brings in."

But it has to go to the people,

the people have
to get the money.

[upbeat music]

[Baka women sing]

[tense music]

- They did a study of the use
of the forest by Baka people.

The areas that were most
important to the Baka people

are the areas where the
ape density was greatest.

So, when traditional
dwelling humans in forests

share their forests with
apes, even if sometimes apes

are killed, for some special
occasion, the apes do great

and the forest is healthy
and the people live there.

- [Narrator] The
Baka people have

over 15 words for elephant.

- If the argument is
that, we need the wealth

under the land, the
diamonds, minerals,

petroleum, and so forth.

If you look at the countries,

which have the most valuable
of these resources in Africa,

say, where they've
been exploited already

for a hundred years or more.

These are still amongst the
poorest countries in the world.

So, it hasn't benefited
the local people.

It is colonialism to remove
people from their land,

and it's also racist,
and it's also illegal.

And it's time to respect
the people who have lived

in these places for,
for essentially forever

and to accept the fact
that they have rights,

just like we claim
for ourselves.

In Cameroon there's
still parks being created

and other protected zones.

Some of them are
for trophy hunting.

So if you pay a lot
of money you can go

and hunt a forest
elephant, for example.

Although that's actually
an endangered species.

There are areas, which
are adjacent to the parks,

which are so-called protected,
some are for logging,

some are for trophy hunting.

The Baka are evicted
and pushed to the edge

and outside the park,

where their society
is entirely smashed.

They turn to drink,
there are no jobs.

It's not as if we're offering
these people an alternative.

Tribal peoples have lived

on these lands
essentially forever.

The Baka, so-called pygmies,
they are stewards of the land.

They know how to look
after it and how to look

after the animals,
which they use,

including the ones they hunt.

[speaking in Baka language]

We're stealing their land
in order to set up parks

and to satisfy conservationists
and for tourism.

Lodges are built,
roads are built.

There is often harassment
of the animals.

And that is actually
extremely dangerous

because it makes them more
likely to attack people

if people are
outside the vehicles.

Whereas formerly they
would have just run away

and avoided people all together,

so it changes animal behavior.

There's several layers of this
con trick in conservation.

One is that these lands are
empty of peoples when in fact,

they've been emptied
of peoples, forcibly,

often to make the
conservation zones.

[speaking in Baka language]

Another is that the outside
conservationists are somehow

or other better at
preserving the environment,

preserving the eco-diversity,

than the people who live there.

And actually there's almost
no scientific evidence

to support that and
the scientific evidence

is in actually completely
the other direction.

[dramatic music]

[elephant trumpeting

- What we need to do is
make sure that businesses

are doing what people
want and what people want

is to have a world, which is
looking after their interests,

is looking after
nature's interests,

is looking after
society's interests.

One of the solutions
that we can bring

into this complex problem
is around natural capital.

And this model that we used
to have, of cutting it off,

fencing it off, making
sure that it was protected.

Conserving, that
word conservation is
about protecting it,

and making sure
no one goes there.

That isn't conservation.

Conservation is making
sure we're understanding

how dependent we are on it,
the benefits it gives us.

So, the idea that we should
have control over it,

we should fence it off,
means that we have to keep on

paying to protect it.

So, we work with the
local people, we work

with the local animals,
the local species.

If we can work with them,

then it ends up becoming

Otherwise we end up having to
pay all the time to protect.

We have to pay for rangers,

we have to pay for
protections systems.

But we can only do that if
we can understand the value

that it's delivering to us.

Otherwise what is the
cost of doing that?

How do we fit that
in our conversation?

[chimp screeching]

- The chimpanzees were really
very helpful in helping me

to convince, particularly
the scientific community,

but other people as well,
that we humans are part

of the animal kingdom.
Because chimpanzees

are our closest
living relatives.

And so when you then see
similarities in behavior

it's pretty easy
for people to say,

"Well yes, when chimpanzees
kiss and embrace

"and hold hands and
pat one another,

"they're probably feeling
similar emotions to us."

When you see a chimpanzee
mother grieving the loss

of her child, it's
pretty easy to say,

"Well, the way they feel grief
must be similar to ours."

- Jane Goodall
described a phenomenon

that's found in Western
and Central Africa

called Empty Forest Syndrome.

And it's where the
forest is standing,

but the wildlife has
largely disappeared.


And the answer to that is,
through the indiscriminate,

commercial-scale hunting
of wildlife for bush meat.

Wire snares are set to catch,
maybe they're set to catch

small antelopes, but wire
snares will catch anything.

Any animal that goes in
that will kill itself

in its struggle to escape.

[gorilla breathing]

- They've already
got two snares here

where they set their traps
on the routes of the animals

when the animals
are going this way.

They are going to the water.

So they merely
locate their snares

where specifically on
the route of the animals

where they usually go to water.

- What the poacher will
do, they have a game trail,

and they set it across
trail like that.

With this end
attached to a tree.

So the animal will come through,

they'll be foliage put on
each side to disguise it,

it puts its head through
and it's just a slipknot.

And as it goes forward
it just tightens,

and as it pulls it
just strangles it.

Sometimes they can take
hours and hours to die.

- And why are they set?

They're set for bush meat.

The bush meat is then
sold in commercial centers

and the people who do the
poaching are making a killing.

A killing because
they kill the animals.

But also, they didn't
raise the animal,

they didn't have it
inoculated, they didn't feed it

when there was a drought.

Their cost is simply the piece

of wire that they probably
stole off someone else's fence

to kill this particular animal.

And the other thing
is that bush meat

represents a potential
risk to human populations.

It could be riddled
with anthrax.

So, bush meat is a killer,
whichever way you look at it.

[tense music]

- If the hunting can be
controlled to some extent,

a lot of these
primate populations

have a good chance of surviving.

The big problem now

is this largely uncontrolled
bush meat hunting.

And it's not a
subsistence issue.

It's really, it's a luxury
trade, where chimp meat

or gorilla meat or monkey
meat in the capital city

sells for more than beef or
chicken or fish, in many cases.

So, it's really,
really hard to control.

Within remaining forest
areas, the poaching,

whether it's for hunting
or for wildlife trade,

it's just eliminating
the vast majority

of species larger than a rat.

So, you can go into the
forests in the Amazon

and you can go into forests,

certainly in Central and West
Africa where there's nothing.

Nice forest, but nothing.

- [Ian] This is an animated
weather map of rainfall

around the world, the
white is water vapor,

the orange-y bits are storms.

And every day it rains
in the Congo basin,

so that big pulsing in
the middle of Africa

is the daily rainfall.

We're all benefiting from
the ecosystem services

provided by these
forests in the tropics.

And the animals that
play a keystone role

in those forests
need our protection

because we want to continue

to have this global water
distribution system acting

as sort of a biotic pump.

- When we started, I was
basically a journalist

trying to start about
extinction of apes.

It was very easy to
see the consequences

of this illegal trade in body
parts of chimps and gorillas

being sold to the rich and the
powerful in Central Africa.

It was also very easy
to see that the law

was never enforced because
those that were actually

behind those trades are
the same police officers

and wildlife officers
that were in charge

of applying the law.

In fact, it was zero
wildlife prosecutions

for all the time the
law was in place.

And I went on research
outside of the capital,

where people were
telling me straight:

"Hey, we have chimp meat being
sold here and gorilla's meat

"being sold here, and we
also have two live ones."

And I said, "What
is this live ones?"

And these are
basically the survivors

of the bush meat trade, the
survivors of the killing

of their entire family.

So, a poacher can kill
different family of apes,

family of chimps, let's say.

Then he would have a baby chimp.

A baby chimp stays on
the back of its mother

for the first three
years of his life.

So if the mother falls from
the tree dead, the baby,

dependent, doesn't run
away, he just clings

to the mother's body
and starts crying.

Poachers will hold in his hand.

Maybe he could kill
it for the meat on it,

and sell the meat,
or maybe he can sell,

or let's try my luck
in the pet trade.

So, here I was in front of
traffickers who were trying

to sell me a baby
chimp, abused, tiny,

one and half years old
baby, about to die.

I went to the wildlife
station and I said,

"Listen, apply the law,
there is a baby chimp here

that can be saved, this
baby chimp can outlive me.

"So, please let's do something,
let's get the law applied."

All they wanted was bribes.

I knew I had to do something.

Because all of this anger
I had against corruption,

lack of application of
the law, was right now

in the face of this baby chimp.

The following morning
I took a book of law,

I went to the big house
of these traffickers,

and I showed them, three
years imprisonment.

And they were
totally unimpressed.

And I said, "Well, you know I
know this is nothing for you,

because with three dollars
bribe you can get away with it."

Then I started bluffing them.

And I said, "I am part of this
huge, big international NGO,

and we are here to
fight corruption,

to get the law applied,
that's my new job."

And at that point
they just wanted

to get rid of the baby chimp.

I untied him from his ropes,
and I stretched my arms out,

and he just climbed my body
and gave me one big hug.

Once I gave him a hug,
he was again transformed,

back to a baby, a baby
with emotional needs.

And that hug became
a permanent hug,

because this baby chimp
basically adopted me.

[chimp laughing]

[metal clinking]

So, I called this
baby chimp 'Future'.

And I realized at that point,

that I can actually fight

not just for a future of
a small, one baby chimp,

but for the future
of his species.

We are in the middle of
a fight, a serious fight.

But I can get a
good night's sleep

if I know that we got one more
major trafficker behind bars,

one more official,
corrupt official

that actually paid
for his crimes.

- It's commercial gangs,
organized commercial gangs

of meat poachers,
doing it for profit,

'cause it's something
for nothing.

And it's the big cattle barons.

What you have to remember
about East Africa

is that it's the Wild West.

You know, you ever
seen a cowboy movie?

What's it all about?

You know, move west, young
man, there's gold down there.

And in the cowboy
movies you see them.

With these huge herds of
cattle moving. And in front

of that stock everything had
to go, Native American tribes,

wild animals, forests, rivers,
whatever, it was destroyed.

And that's what's
happening to us.

- So we're protecting gorillas,

we're protecting elephants,

we're trying to
protect orangutans.

But we're losing.

Because when we raise money
for NGOs, for organizations

to support the efforts
of government agencies

that are trying to
protect these forests.

We're thinking in terms of
tens, or hundreds of thousands,

bigger NGOs maybe low millions.

At the same time corporations
are spending billions

of dollars to develop
those same lands.

And the Ministers that
come to our UN meetings

and sign agreements to protect
apes, are often trumped

by the more powerful
Ministers of Agriculture

and Land Development, who
want the mines to develop

or want the roads to be
put through the forest.

Even though opening the
forest begins the degradation

that results in extinction.

[dramatic music]

- [Eric] With elephant
tusks and with rhino horns,

it's a more complicated issue,
it really is, it's a war.

A place like Kafue is kind
of ground zero in that war.

And the only way that
the Zambian government

is going to win that war
is with help from outside

and with devoting
more resources itself.

I think it's very positive
that the government

understands that it has a
crisis and that it needs

to take drastic
measures to address it.

And certainly deploying
the Zambian military

to deal with poaching
would be a drastic measure.

But it could be that the
situation merits that.

That it needs to take
such as drastic step.

[peaceful music]

- I don't think it's a
question of them not caring

about the wildlife. I
think it's a question

of them not knowing what is
going on with their wildlife.

I'd like to think that as proud
Africans and proud Zambians,

our life is more
important than money.

How can we get the
community to be involved

to benefit from safari hunting?

So, that they're not
tempted to poach?

[birds squawking]

We were sitting at the
camp and I was sitting

near the radio, and a game
scout radioed in to say

that he heard four shots, and
of course, the game scouts

were told to go and
investigate what was happening.

And the game scouts went
and they spent a night

in the bush and the
following morning

they found the elephants.

And it was a long
weekend, so I think

that was a Sunday when
the shots were heard,

the four shots were heard.

And the Monday morning,
the game scouts reported,

and we heard over the
radio that it was reported

that they found
three elephant down.

And so I jumped into my car

and I followed the
game scouts to go

and see what was happening.

And I took the pictures,
and I was so devastated.

- [Ranger] So this poor thing

has been suffering
the whole time?

[flies buzzing]

[elephant groaning]

- I was weeping openly.

The game scouts were horrified.

I don't think there was not
one person who stood there,

including the game scouts,
that didn't drop a tear.

It was beyond everybody.

It was so, so sad.

Especially that she
was a lactating mother.

She was a lactating mother
with two small babies.

The tusks were barely that size.

They killed an elephant
that takes a gestation

of 18 months and in
another eighteen months

to make a tusk that size.

Even the game scouts
were devastated.

[dramatic music]

- That is actual slaughter of
an elephant that is put down,

still alive as the tusk
is carved out of its face.

Purely so that you can
have a trinket, right?

It's beautiful artwork.

This craftsmanship is exquisite,

but they used a critically
endangered species to do it.

Wildlife crime is a crime
that is very low risk

and very high monetary value.

It's currently estimated

at a nineteen billion
dollar industry, annually.

And the fact that the
sentence really is just a slap

on the wrist for people
that are making millions

and millions of dollars off
of everybody's wildlife.

- Well, you know, the sad
thing is they will shoot them

in the knees to slow
them down or to try

to stop them from charging.

You know because this, it's
not likely they're gonna

get this into the brain, but
they can get it into the legs

to maybe make them stumble,

fall and not be able to
charge them or trample them.

Because it doesn't take much to,

you know, what does an
elephant weigh, a ton?

- Eight.
- Eight tons.

That thing steps on
you, you're dead.

So, I would imagine
that's probably with an AK

that's probably their
best effort is to just try

to shoot the legs
to get 'em to stop.

And then I don't, from
what I've heard they

just go up and they just
basically take a machete

or chainsaw and it's
like, man, I don't.

How somebody could do something

like that I just don't know.

- [Azad] The
animals being driven

to extinction
affects everything.

This is a not an
African problem.

But everyone says" "Poaching
is a problem for Africa."

No, it's not.

No, it's not.

This affects you.

- [Jane] The current rate
of killing of elephants

is actually worse
than in the 1980s,

because the price
of ivory has soared.

You know so many elephants,

they're reckoning one elephant

every 15 minutes across Africa.

And this is completely

So, that some
populations are already

on the road to extinction.

And if we don't stop this
terrible poaching soon,

we may actually lose
this most extraordinary

and amazing of land mammals.

- I think we are coming
to a cultural change here.

One of those changes
is collaboration.

What we now need to do
is have a Renaissance

of bringing people
back together.

[speaking Sangho language]

We are part of a system
here and not just some being

that can control nature.

We can't control nature.

We're part of nature.

[somber, mysterious music]