More than 30,000 African elephants die each year at the hands of poachers greedy for ivory tusks. Despite the global outcry over the killings, trafficking continues. Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow and acclaimed VR creator Imraan Ismail bring to usThe Protectors: Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes, a call to action to end the Ivory War. From National Geographic Documentary Films, this VR short chronicles a day in the life of a ranger in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These rangers often serve as the last line of defense in a race against extinction. They face constant danger and even the risk of death at the service of these sentient, noble creatures. The rangers of Garamba National Park are truly the unsung heroes in this race against time.
The Protectors debuted at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival Saturday night (Earth Day) in New York City. Following the VR short, Hillary Rodham Clinton joined a panel discussion moderated by Kathryn Bigelow. As Secretary of State, Clinton worked to bring the issue of global wildlife trafficking out of obscurity. Her family’s foundation has launched an initiative to combat elephant poaching.
Co-director Ismail also participated on the panel, along with Rachel Webber, EVP of Digital Product for National Geographic and Andrea Heydlauff, chief marketing officer of African Parks.
Here are some alarming elephant poaching statistics
— An estimated 100 African elephants are killed each day by poachers seeking ivory, meat, and body parts.
— As of 2016, there were still more African elephants being killed for ivory than are being born.
— It’s estimated only about 400,000 African elephants are remaining today.
— Some experts believe that at this current rate of poaching, elephants could be mostly extinct by the end of the next decade.
But, not all hope is lost. African Parks has the largest anti-poaching force of any one NGO across Africa with more than 850 Rangers. You can help train and outfit these frontline defenders, who are safeguarding Africa’s elephants and other wildlife, by going to outfitaranger.org.