ABOUT THE FILM
Heart of a Lion is a feature documentary currently in post-production. Filming in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, and Mozambique, it addresses the crises of species extinction in Africa, with a focus on the lion, the apex predator, as representing the fragility of wildlife on this continent.
The October 2016 World Wild Life Fund’s “Living Planet Report” states, “Global populations of wildlife species have plunged 60% since 1970 and Wildlife is disappearing within our lifetimes at an unprecedented rate." It cites the fundamental problem as “human beings” and projects if the current course is not dramatically altered, two-thirds of the wildlife population will disappear by 2020.
It is incomprehensible to consider the WWF statistics and the impact these losses will have on future generations. Prince Harry, through his United for Wildlife Foundation states, “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 killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist created a tsunami of emotion around the world. While the global outcry did reduce international trophy hunting, CITIES, the regulator of trade in endangered species, made the controversial decision to allow the trade of "lion bones" to the Chinese market, replacing those of the near-extinct tiger for “medicinal” Tiger Wine.
Heart of a Lion investigates the disconnect between man and nature, the commodification of animals and wilderness, the effect of human encroachment on wildlife habitat, and the indigenous, economic and political forces behind the lion industry and wildlife conservation.
It examines the approach to conservation in countries such as Canada, where an alliance of corporations, government and the coastal tribes of British Columbia managed to bring 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 successful 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 parks in partnership with government and local communities.
It looks at the emergence of eco-philanthropy in wildlife conservation and its potential role, not only stemming the dramatic decline of species in Africa but in emphasizing that the wildlife crises is not just a problem for Africa but an urgent global issue.
Documentaries do matter. The Ivory Game added to the mounting political pressure on China to finally announce an end of its domestic ivory trade by 2017. Heart of a Lion presents that good and the bad, offering an assessment of the ecology between man and nature, and realistic solutions to bringing it into balance.