ABOUT THE FILM
HEART OF A LION, CECIL’S PRIDE, is a feature documentary currently in production filming in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, and Mozambique. The film addresses the crises of species extinction in Africa, with focus on the lion, its apex predator, representing the fragility of all wildlife on this continent.
The October 2016 World Wild Life Fund’s “Living Planet Report” stated, “Global populations of wildlife species have plunged 60% since 1970 and wildlife is disappearing within our lifetimes at an unprecedented rate." The report cites the fundamental problem as “human beings.” It projects that unless the current course is dramatically altered, two-thirds of the wildlife population will disappear by 2020.
It is incomprehensible to consider the impact these losses will have on future generations. Through his United for Wildlife Foundation, Prince Harry makes the clarion call, “saving endangered animals is God's test for humanity, and if we cannot save wild animals from extinction, then humanity is in danger too."
In 2015, the slaughter of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist created a tsunami of emotion around the world. While the global outcry reduced international trophy hunting, CITIES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) later made the controversial decision to allow the trade of "lion bones" to the Chinese market – as replacement for those of the near-extinct tiger for ‘medicinal’ Tiger Wine.
This documentary looks at the legacy of Cecil and how his death brings into focus the disconnect between man and nature, the commodification of animals and wilderness, the rise of “canned farming”, the effect of human encroachment on wildlife habitat, and the indigenous, economic and political forces behind the lion industry and wildlife conservation.
It examines methodologies in countries such as Canada, where an alliance of corporations, government and the coastal tribes of British Columbia brought about the protection of the "Spirit Bear" and, in turn, conservation of the largest ‘intact’ temperate rainforest in the world.
It explores the challenges of wildlife conservation in a continent where poverty is endemic, and how the success of conservation programs go hand in hand with education and local economic development. It looks at the strategies of such organizations as African Parks in rehabilitating national reserves in partnership with government and local communities. It studies the emergence of eco-philanthropy in wildlife conservation and its potential role, not only in stemming the dramatic decline of species in Africa, but in highlighting that its wildlife crisis is not just a problem for Africa - but an urgent global issue.
Documentaries matter. THE IVORY GAME, 2016, stepped up mounting political pressure on China to finally announce an end of its domestic ivory trade. HEART OF A LION, CECIL’S PRIDE, presents the good and the bad, the ecology between man and nature, and offers realistic solutions to bringing them into balance.