Gambling on extinction


As endangered species, elephants, rhinos and tigers are in grave danger.
Elephants, coveted for their tusks, are even poached in nature reserves, such as in Rukinga, Kenya and the Kruger Park in South Africa.
With authorities powerless, mafia networks control this global traffic of ivory and rhinoceros horns, which represents revenues of $20 billion per year.
Armed rebellions, such as that of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda or the Somali al-Shabaab Islamist group, are funded in part through this trade.
Some 35,000 elephants and a thousand rhinos die from poaching each year, elephants for their ivory and rhinos for their horns.

Please note the full version of this film is not available in certain countries.

Awards : - German Environmental Film Award IFF Ekotopfilm
- Bratislava : German Wildlife Film Award Prize of the President of the Festival Committee

Director's statement

Nearly two years ago I was leafing through the pages of a magazine when an article struck me. It was about elephants being killed by poachers in Chad.
Not one or two elephants hunted by locals for meat – but dozens at a time, brutally slaughtered by well-organized gangs with automatic rifles.
They first shot the babies so that their mothers, delirious with grief, gave up their protection. Then they shot them as well.
Some of the elephants were still alive when the poachers hacked off their tusks, leaving the dying animals behind.
I was shocked and appalled. I wanted to know more and made some enquiries.
I spoke to animal conservationists and discovered that these weren’t isolated cases but that poaching was escalating throughout Africa.
And I learned that these highly organized criminal gangs not only attack elephants but other endangered species like rhinos as well.
I couldn’t believe that this was happening right here, right now.

Why we selected this film

From the African savannah to the Asian markets, this documentary raises the alarm with regard to the situation of rhinos and elephants which are dying at an astounding rate.
While the number of poaching acts has risen dramatically in the last two years and an elephant is killed every 15 minutes, some are ready to risk their lives to save these majestic creatures from falling prey to the organized networks which control this lucrative traffic.
Given that the last male white rhinoceros died in March 2018, this film is a major statement in favour of these endangered species and strives to draw the public’s attention to this environmental tragedy.
If we do nothing, in less than ten years all elephants will be extinct.
For our children to see wild animals in places other than zoos and books, we must act now, for example, by putting pressure on the European institutions which continue to authorise the sale of ivory within the EU.