A Storyville documentary: investigating big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation, it raises debate about the rights and wrongs of killing animals for sport and profit.
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This programme contains very strong language
and scenes which some viewers may find upsetting.
WHISPERED: OK, just get comfortable and get ready.
Take your time.
And aim just to the right leg of the feeder, OK?
You can wait if you want, but that's a shelter shot out there.
Ho-ho! You put him down, son!
Where's that spike?
-Oh, he's getting up, Dad.
-He's not going anywhere, don't worry.
-You killed the doe.
-Off the spike.
-OK, let's go.
Hold this gun like this.
-I need the head up like this, OK?
-Cos, if it's young, it doesn't look great.
-Let's try that!
OK. Oh, that's what we want right there.
First trophy buck.
One more, just smile. We're done.
As they say, that's history.
No more doe and spike culling for you.
You're onto the big trophies.
INDISTINCT URGENT INSTRUCTIONS
One, two, three.
Short deep breaths, eh?
-Make sure that their breathing's good. Yeah.
Where's the brush? Give us the brush.
-Can we go?
We've got a rhino left on its side now. Let's go.
The operation goes very quickly.
probably less danger than a human being having its wisdom tooth out.
He will be back with his friends within minutes.
It'll take about two years
before he goes through the same procedure again
and we know that the poachers prefer rhinos with long horns
and pointed horns.
Every two years, to save his life, I think,
if he had an opinion to give to you, he would say,
"I'm very happy to sacrifice my horn, in order to save my life."
There he is, already walking normally.
He looks fine.
I truly believe that I have the recipe
to save the rhino from extinction.
Sell the horns, keep the rhinos alive and breeding more and more.
I will give you a challenge.
Give me one animal that's gone extinct
while farmers were breeding it and making money out of it.
There's not one. Not one.
SHEEP AND LAMBS BLEAT
That's a Dorper lamb.
That's what we do. We raise babies.
LAMB BLEATS LOUDLY
We feed them, we keep the predators out of them and we...
..try to breed good genetics and try to raise the next generation.
All right, I've got you. I've got your friend. Your little brother.
Those lambs will be three months old when they're weaned
and they will go to a small packer in central Texas
and that lamb will be harvested
and, typically, will go into your high-end grocery chains
and then to a few specialty restaurants.
I think we have a problem with people thinking that all animals are pets.
I don't think you can explain that to people.
If they don't understand that you raise a chicken to kill a chicken to eat chicken,
if they can't understand that,
it's their infantile frame of mind that I don't know how to,
how to get in their mind.
All I can tell them is, I love raising these animals.
I love those lambs.
Even the ones that are going to be somebody's lamb chops this summer for July fourth.
But that's what they're for.
They're not for anything else.
Pull him. To the side, guys.
One, two, three. Come on.
Keep it on the grass.
You are closing his nose. He must breathe.
You can't put your hand there.
Let me close your nose also.
OK? Thank you, guys.
There's a big industry in our country. Not just the crocodiles,
the lions, the sables, the buffalo,
everything it's being bred for purpose on the end of the day.
So, yeah, sure, some of them will be hunted.
We are as humans going to eat it,
or we're going to use the skin
and then that's a cycle of life.
Slowly, slowly, slowly.
Those are still wild animals,
even if they've been kept in captivity, like this,
they'll kill you in an instant and eat you up.
So then, once it's closed up,
you load it on and it's ready for transport to its next destination.
If you don't come to Vegas,
I think your business will eventually won't make it.
This is the place to come
and everyone tries to be better than the next person.
It doesn't matter if he's breeding lions, or buffalo, or sable,
it's a passion to have your wild game
and to be able to breed them and make sure you get better quality
and genetics and that, and you're actually proud of it.
The Safari Club International show
is the largest hunting convention in the planet.
We have 2,000 booths that are out there on the floor.
We'll probably run 20,000 different folks through here
from all over the world...
..and you'll be able to see anything that you want,
in terms of hunting, hunting support, and conservation.
For you, eight animals, big cats.
I know that a lot of people are confused
how hunting and conservation go together.
Hunt South Africa on a ten-day...
About two hours ago, there was an auction item
that was an elephant hunt.
20,000. Let's go. 22.5. Blow him out of the water. 22.5.
And that elephant hunt sold for about 50,000
and that money will all go back into conservation.
-Sold right there. 18,000. 18.
The coat is not exchangeable and model is not included.
Another at 29,000.
I don't know when my little granddaughter says
"I don't know why my grandma wants to shoot a zebra."
So, I don't know. I'm losing face with my three-year-old little granddaughter
cos I'm going to go shoot a zebra.
And crocodiles are really mean.
So I don't feel bad about killing one of those.
Besides that, I want pair of boots.
And a purse, and a wallet.
And a belt.
You can not only pick the species you want,
but you can pick the actual animal you want,
so you can see if you want a male, or a female,
older, younger, colour, type of fur.
You can just pick whatever animal you want
from the menu that they offer you, see the price, and book the kill.
The Safari Club Convention
is the ultimate meat market for exotic species.
And one of the prime attractions
is to get a big five grand slam.
So you shoot one of each of the following species.
Buffalo, which would cost you about 8-9,000.
Leopards for about 20.
Elephants for 45.
Lions for 50,000.
And most expensive, because it's the rarest - the rhino for 350,000.
So there's all this sort of stuff that encourages this collecting,
this obsessiveness for more and more and more
and the status is applied to the individual hunter
who achieves those ends.
I happened to be at Safari club and they were discussing fish and wildlife
and all the bans they kept instituting
and that there was a rumour that they wanted to put lions
on the threatened list and further regulate their take.
And I decided at that moment, that if the big five was my goal,
then I had to step my plans up, drastically.
Wait, wait. And take him.
I love it.
It's exciting to see people get here.
They are going on a big hunt, so they're excited.
They've worked very hard to earn the money
to be able to go pay for this hunt
and they come here with anticipation.
They come here with a lot of nervousness,
because, in Africa, it is dangerous.
We're right on the edge of a herd of elephants. Want you to get bull.
You hit him, just keep hitting him again till he's down. Sound good?
-Follow me up here.
If you go back 1,000 years,
you know, the balance of nature was pretty, pretty stable.
Unfortunately, man has kind of screwed this up.
And we have encroached on so much natural land,
that the species, all the species, now have to be managed.
For instance, too many elephants in Botswana.
On the right, on the right. There he is.
Hit him again. And he's down.
Of course, we can't do this with live animals but
it kind of gets you pumped up, what you're going to feel on the real deal.
It's not been something I've experienced recently.
But as a child, I certainly remember it.
From the flight deck for those of you leaving us,
I'd just like to welcome you to Katima.
On behalf of the crew thank you for flying with...
When I was a little boy, I remember I had a BB gun.
I can vividly remember my mother telling me,
"You can go shoot birds but don't shoot a red bird."
What did I do?
I went and shot a red bird.
And I can still remember holding that bird in my hands
and looking at its beak and just seeing how beautiful it was
and how it was made.
Right there in that moment,
I realised that there's no way
I could have loved that bird any more.
Even though it was dead.
And I think a lot of us, as trophy hunters, feel the same way.
We just... We just want that experience to go...
..and hunt that animal one time.
We'd really just want one.
Where are you going?
What's wrong, my baby?
-It's not a good morning again this morning.
Oh, fuck. Now what?
It's a dead rhino there.
An adult rhino?
Has she got a calf, Johnny?
Yeah, she's got big two-year-old calf.
Ugh! Fuck me. It never stops, does it?
When a calf doesn't know what to do with itself.
The goal of this farm and myself is to breed 200 rhinos a year.
I have lost quite a few of my breeding stock.
Disease will always be a factor.
Unfortunately, so will poaching.
The odds are stacked against them.
..I'm always for the underdog...
..but more to the point...
..I got to know them
and they are the last animal in the world
that deserves the persecution.
They don't deserve it.
They are the nicest,
most user-friendly animal
that wants to stay this side of extinction.
They definitely are the most magical creatures.
I can sit and watch them for hours and hours and hours.
And they're ancient.
They don't look like they belong in today's life,
yet they're still here.
I'm hoping that people get a whiff of places like this.
What we're trying to do here,
that more of them will start thinking
of opening their own breeding operations,
so that, hopefully, together, we can revive the numbers,
before we destroy another species because of mankind.
Almost every other wild animal has to be killed
to get what people want.
Whether that is horns, skin, meat,
rhino is the only exception
and that's why I concentrate on rhinos,
because you don't have to hunt them, you don't have to kill them.
In fact, you shouldn't, because they're growing gold for you.
The rhino horn belief has been around for millions of years.
Unfortunately, there are more people that believe in rhino horn
than there are Christians on this earth,
so it's very difficult...
You're going to go and tell 600 million Christians, or whatever,
that God doesn't exist, by the same token,
you're not going to tell people rhino horn doesn't work.
This one weighs about four kilos.
In Vietnam, on the black market, the retail value of this horn
would be about a quarter of a million dollars.
It's more expensive than gold, or heroin, by weight.
The illogical part of it is that I have four tonnes of rhino horn
in expensive security,
which very conservatively, I could get 60 million.
But we're not allowed to sell it.
When I started this project,
it was legal to sell rhino horn in South Africa.
In 2009, our government put a moratorium on the trade in rhino horn...
..but, since the ban, poaching has skyrocketed.
The very crook who now will kill a rhino and sell it illegally,
if he could sell the horn legally, he will never kill a rhino.
Who would kill the hen that lays the golden egg?
Maybe somebody's watching for crocs.
There's a little hole right there.
It's all good.
This is one of the largest destinations, probably, in Africa
where there's no fences. It's absolutely open.
You have to work for your trophy.
We believe, yeah, that...
..if you want to hunt, it's all on the food.
It's walk and stalk.
It's giving, also, the animal a chance.
So, for us, the three things is,
if he hears you, he smells you, or if he sees you, it's game over.
The build-up to pulling that trigger, in my case,
started at 18 months ago.
So it's a long build-up to that point.
Preparation, planning, buying plane tickets,
paying a deposit on safari,
talking with your PH about the plans.
"What are we going to do? How are we going to hunt him?"
All this stalking, planning...
..and then, finding if the animal's coming.
And then the animal's there.
And then, you pull the trigger.
And, then - boom! - you've got him.
And then, all of the anticipation changes into a different emotion,
of joy and relief...
..and excitement and anticipation,
because you want to go over to him and see...
..hell, what does he look like?
What does he feel like?
What does he...
Where did he fall?
Which one are you looking at?
This one here on the left.
No, no, no. That's a young bull.
Let's go back.
Let's go, let's go, let's go.
I think it's too dangerous.
Too many, they're too blocked up and...
All the ones I saw had good toes, the big ones.
Yeah, but they're female.
It's all females we are looking for, an old,
old animal that we can harvest for meat.
That's OK. Keep going.
For the better part of two centuries now,
you had this hunting culture,
first in Britain and now in America,
that it's somehow rugged and exciting
to be out in the wilderness and hunting,
and Teddy Roosevelt bought into that
when he hunted thousands of animals,
including something like 5,000 mammals
and started to record all of these kills.
The hunters' accounts of what they're doing
makes me sick to my stomach, sometimes,
about finding this amazing bull elephant and putting a bullet
in the animal's head and that gives them a rush of excitement.
Now, they cloak that in money, conservation, helping people,
so, yeah, Roosevelt is declaring all these parks National Parks
and protecting wilderness
but he's also killing thousands of animals at the same time,
because he wanted to be able to do that hunting.
He wanted to be able to consume those wild animals.
The hunting industry is trying to convince people
that the way it was in Roosevelt's time
is the way it still is today.
A hunter was somebody who was willing to go out
and spend three weeks walking around on foot, tracking an elephant,
tracking a lion, to shoot it and take home a trophy.
There was a challenge, there was a sense of sport.
But what has happened in the last ten or 15 years
has been a growing segment of the hunting demographic
which are referred to as "the shooters"
and the shooters may have to spend as much money as it takes
to get a three-week permit
but if they can kill everything in the first two days,
they'll do it and they'll fly home.
It's that mentality that really fed the birth
of the canned hunting industry.
Basically, you've gone shopping at some import-export place
and you've got your rug, you got your mantelpiece.
But it's not sport, it's just killing.
Shit! I'm out of bullets.
Come here, come here, come here.
Piece of shit.
Where is it now?
It's going to move.
That is one big-ass fucking crocodile!
Let me tell you, though,
the adrenaline has been worth every penny of it,
-as long as we can fetch it out.
-Something's coming out there.
-Yeah. It's coming out there.
-That's... Oh, my gosh!
-That's not yours.
-Is that yours?
-I don't know.
-I don't know.
-No, but I want to shoot a rhino.
I want to have... Yeah, I want to have two.
That can't be yours, swimming like that.
I don't know what that is.
It keeps like croaking.
Watch it. I want to shoot this one.
-I'm not sure.
-Is that the one?
I'll shoot it with this one. Going to put my beer down.
Not drop it.
-From the last crocodile.
-Oh, the last crocodile. Oh!
It's just waiting for us to get close.
Oh, it's moving it's eyes.
Need to watch out.
Shoot it again.
Should I just shoot it in the brain?
-Now it's dead.
-Oh, you motherfucker!
-Now he's destroyed.
-No, they'll fix it up.
They'll fix it, Sarah. They'll fix it.
That's what taxidermists do.
That's why you pay them.
I'm done for the day. It's party time, boys.
-How much for that sucker?
-That white one?
That's a big white lion. It would be about 35,000.
35,000? How much was Cecil?
Cecil was expensive, like, 50,000.
I was in the cattle industry for, like, ten, 12 years
and because we had a lot of game in the area,
I had some other outfitters those years which always contact me
and said, "Please, Christo, can I bring a client over?"
"I'd like to come and hunt."
And I'd say, "OK, fine, bring the clients."
And then I start meeting overseas clients
and it looked to me like it can become a good business.
So what we offer our clients is days at the lodge,
there is a Jacuzzi and then the hunting area.
You can drive around, try and spot the animals,
you get off and you try and get the client up to a point
where he can have a clear, good shot at that animal.
-Good shot, buddy.
Normally in the middle of the day, when it's really hot,
we bring the clients into the blind area
where they can sit down for the rest of the afternoon.
So it's making it really comfortable.
The client can stand straight up and be able to shoot
through that slot over there.
It's maybe, like, 25 yards.
We will put some feeders out here, as well,
so that the animals can only come into the certain areas
where there is water for drinking.
Then we clear out around all these water points where the blinds are
because you would like to see the animals when they come in
and that makes it an exciting hunt
and it makes it a natural environment,
which is very important.
What did you kill? You're just wasting petrol.
Yeah, it's not a photo safari.
You've got the wrong guide.
You should get a guide which kills things.
Sorry! OK, sorry!
Just keep in mind, we don't feed no Americans
if they don't shoot something.
I would love to have a giraffe.
I probably would shoot it myself, too.
Oh, here's some more.
He says it's too expensive and we don't have room for it in our house.
I would find room for it in our house,
even if I probably would have to build onto the trophy room,
which I don't want to.
A beautiful animal. I got one of those last year.
I still have a warthog and a baboon and a bush buck, a bush pig,
a caracal, so the list is still pretty big
and we have the rest of this day and two more days to hunt.
So we'll try to do our best to get the most on the list,
but it's not as easy.
It seems like once we're going for them, they're real skittish.
Now we just like to get all this grass out of the way.
Wash all the blood off.
You try and start with plains game.
You know, animals which they get the feeling
and get used to our bush and environment.
Right, Joe, smile.
And then, eventually, they've got the experience
to allow them to go after the big five.
This is the most expensive one.
Damn, that was a good shot.
Ah, beautiful photo.
-Do you want to kiss?
Oh, that's a nice one! There you go.
Now I'm happy, she got a second one and oil's up to 2.
-Oil's up 2.
Let's add another one to the list.
Let's add that bitch to the list.
Right, I'm going to start you really low.
And what do we say? What about one million here?
500,000 now. 500, 500, 500, 600,000.
I've got 600,000. 800,000. One million. Thank you, sir.
1 million that we have now. I've got a 1.2, now.
I've got a 1.5, and 730 there.
I've got 1,730,000 now.
Do we have 1,750,000 here?
Every outfitter, if he has a lot of clients,
or runs a good hunting business, you kind of shoot out your animals,
so you have to buy in new blood.
The breeding is very important because that's where the money is.
The money is in the breeding.
AUCTION CHANT AND BIDDING CONTINUES
We've had buffalo go for between four and five million US dollars
and also sable bulls go for four or five million US dollars.
It's good for the industry.
Very big demand and a good market.
At 2,600,000, and done.
You have the...
You know, the capitalist system, the profit motive,
making money off of wildlife.
So it's a remarkable development, but in South Africa,
they went through an incredible period of removing nature
from their countryside in the 1800s.
And they'd literally removed everything.
It's only been in the last 20, 25 years
that there has been this recognition
that they could take private land and private owners themselves
could profit by restoring these areas.
Now, until recently, this land was mostly used for livestock,
but a lot of people decided,
"Well, we could get more revenue if we do game ranching."
You'd actually get much more money than raising cows.
In this model, they're filling the market
by first killing rare ungulate species, like sable,
that are still attractive for hunters.
And you can also start breeding your buffalo, so they have abnormally huge horns.
And then, as the market saturates, people are thinking,
"Ah, well, you know, I've got all this land and we could bring back big five."
Now you actually have got a restored ecosystem.
And so this has been a success story.
There are far more lions in South Africa now
than there were 100 years ago.
There is far more predators, in general, in South Africa
than there were 100 years ago.
Initially, it may have been because
this would have involved the slaughter of some animals,
but then you could go towards a more naturalistic thing
that would not have happened otherwise.
If we are only going to restrict...
..what we view as domesticated animals
to those species that have been domesticated
hundreds of thousands of years ago,
then we are just going to see a lot of these species go away
and, I think, that there are a few species, like rhino,
that there should be rhino farms.
One needs to recognise
that what they've achieved in South Africa
should not be lost.
This was a breeding buffalo bull.
This buffalo bull was bought for millions...
he was done breeding and we had to put him out of there for hunting.
So we got the Canadian client, he came over,
and he was very happy to harvest to such a beautiful trophy.
So nothing goes for waste.
Nothing. Even that animal.
And we hope that, maybe, there's 50, 70 babies of him running around.
But eventually, one day, he is going to be honoured,
to put him up on the trophy room where someone can walk in and say,
"You know what, that was a top breeder."
And he will still be honoured today.
You look at him and say he was a great trophy.
He makes a real great trophy.
Do you ever get attached to a lion,
that it's hard to release it for a hunt?
Is there some animal like that that you are like, "Ah, this one."
Doesn't matter what animal it is, if you love animals,
you will get attached to it.
You will go out there every day.
You see this animal, you are feeding him.
The buffalo, your sable, of course,
but there will be a time when you have to let go.
You must cut it.
Did you see it? Congratulations.
-You got him running away.
Maybe you could come to the side.
-To the chest.
-Straight to there?
Let's stand a little bit back
so you can just finish.
Is he an old one, Philip?
No. Just a bull.
Doesn't have, uh, the trophy quality of a big elephant.
You know, he will never grow big.
The "own use" elephant is an elephant that we have to hunt
for the community.
As part of their quota,
they get some animals that they can harvest for meat.
15 years ago, people poached animals because of they want meat
and there was no value to the animal for them.
Now they know they must protect the wildlife.
It's not only the meat,
there's actually money going back to their pockets.
-Break the door where people are sleeping?
These are recurring problems, then. Can't carry on like this.
Somebody's going to get eaten. It's just a matter of time.
Maybe it's better people cry about a dead lion
and we don't cry about a dead person.
-Better that way.
We go to extreme lengths to keep animals from being shot
on the problem animal control programme.
Probably 95% of the time
we can get the animals out of the communities
and get them back into where they belong.
Try keep the two separate because they don't mix well.
People are killed every year
by elephant, and hippo, and crocodile, and lion.
It's part of life.
Part of life here, anyway, certainly.
Lions come in, absolutely destroy a guide's livelihood
and he doesn't have a way to sustain his future.
Maybe does he end up in the bush, putting up wire snares and poaching?
At the end of the day, you know, we're fighting a poaching war.
We are trying to recruit people.
We do the anti-poaching campaigns.
Trying to teach people
and explain to them the importance of animals.
The problem is people, they're suffering.
So they are forced now to get into the bush, to make a living.
Stay. Be a good boy.
Be a good boy. Stay, stay.
Yeah, David, you don't. Let me tell you, you definitely don't.
That one over there was only 14 months old.
I think two of them were pregnant
and then another cow with a young calf was also wounded.
She still has a bullet in her brisket.
Whether that will prove fatal or not, we don't know.
They can give you ten, 12, even 13 calves in their life.
That is all wiped out...
..in one moment.
The bodies were actually mutilated.
It means it is definitely, sort of, locals involved.
I'm suspicious about the camp master,
because the rhinos, A, know him,
and he knows how to go and stand in the middle of them, quietly,
and then maybe, you know, two guys,
one banging one side and one banging this side.
That's how I pictured it in my nightmare.
Tell this fucking lady now we are not tired of this.
We are going to leave her with boots.
We've known your father a long time.
The future in the bush, ain't a future, there is no future there.
Otherwise, you can die, leaving your family behind.
Or to be jailed, and you are young guys
with plenty of future to your side.
I know if we stay like this we'll end up...
That's not going forward.
We're fighting this war for the community. This community.
And another community further away want these elephants' teeth.
They're worth a lot of money.
And they will go to all lengths to get what they want.
We need to look in the mirror every morning.
I make a point of it every single morning.
I look in the mirror
because we've got to make sure we don't cross the bounds...
..er...that we can't lose our humanity for humanity.
I think that's really important.
It gets harsh and we do things sometimes that...
You saw it, scare people.
But we, we have to do what...
We have to keep this fight going.
It's a war to save elephant from extinction.
20 rhinos were poached. In less than a year.
When I fired the previous security company,
I already had a suspicion that some of them were involved
in the rhino poaching.
One of the people in that team I really liked
was the second in command, a chap by the name of Thomas.
That is our friend Thomas at the time that he was here.
I've got a very reliable report from the police
that Thomas was in on the poaching.
That is, emotionally,
the worst part of this was...
Who are your friends now?
Who are the friends of your rhino?
You feel you can't trust anybody.
I won't be able to guarantee zero losses on this property.
What I can say to you that most of those incidents
which are mapped there
are a direct result of having
the wrong people on site, with not the right equipment,
not the right training, not being highly motivated.
So we will now change the policy completely
to have an elite reaction unit.
I don't necessarily want them in a body bag,
but I would like to upset them.
For them to say, "No, no, no, you don't want to go to that place."
We have a case of shots being fired.
While a lot of the politicians are praying for peace,
we are praying for war.
More conflict is probably needed in this arena to sort out the problem.
Quite frankly, I feel poor cos they're all very expensive.
Radar seems to be somewhere between ten and 20 million Rand.
This chopper here is costing me nearly a million a month.
Then there is the underground man, the bloody information man...
Derek, would that have come through as an alarm if you had tapped it
on the top of the fence?
I mean, why did they come in here?
They walked from that bottom road there.
They all went up there into this camp to come close to these. Why?
Just cos they're fucking with my head, or why?
You feel very helpless, you know.
Good morning, darlings.
Let me scratch you.
This one is four months old.
I don't think anybody ever thought any private person
would have 1,300 rhinos.
And next year we're going to have 200 more, maybe.
But I suppose it's an addiction kind of thing.
And where do you think it's going to stop?
When he kicks the bucket, I guess.
Then hopefully one of his sons will carry on.
He won't stop before he's six foot under.
My dream is to carry on what my dad's doing.
To carry on with the rhino breeding.
Unfortunately, the irony,
I wouldn't breed rhino because it's too expensive
and it's very high risk.
I mean, we've had death threats here at the house.
If I see what he's gone through in the last 15 years,
his financial position has gradually got worse and worse
the more rhino he has acquired there.
I've invested 50 million in this project with virtually no return.
This project will come to an end unless it is making money.
I can go on selling my assets,
but it is not sustainable in the long run.
I used to have six resorts.
I used to have over 3,000 beds.
All of the resorts have been...
And this is the last one that will be sold on auction.
RAPID AUCTION CHANT
For 24 million. For the first time.
For the second time at 24 million.
Thank you, ma'am, it's yours.
After taking various advice,
I believe that I don't have any option
but to take the government to court to lift the moratorium.
If I don't,
I will run out of money and my rhinos will be killed by poachers.
We believe that the poachers would have shot an elephant today...
..and we hope to meet them on the road
and explain to them that...
..this no longer happens in this area.
There was a sting operation in the district south of us
where a lot of armed poachers come from.
What had transpired was a guy whipped out a knife,
tried to stab the police officer.
He was shot.
He died shortly after that.
Er, yeah, don't know.
It was a bit strange because the next day
I had to go and shoot an elephant.
# Happy birthday to you
# Happy birthday, dear Philip
# Happy birthday to you
# And many more. #
You spilled it. What are you, some kind of wild animal?
Mom, Dad, now watch. Philip's opening his gift.
Oh, I remember what these are.
Birthday cheers on your quest for the big five.
-And some kind of chocolates. Is that what it is?
Unfortunately, this is my birthday present, I guess.
They've listed the lions as threatened
and all lions as threatened and another species as endangered.
So effectively, lion hunting is over.
Now, when this all goes into effect, I don't know.
We are just a few months out, so maybe we're OK.
Maybe we're not. Maybe we have to go to a different country.
Maybe the whole trip's ruined. I don't know.
So I think the thing that makes me the maddest is this
service director Dan Ash says that, and I quote,
"It's a privilege, not a right, for us to bring back these trophies from other countries."
You know, I don't think he was elected by anybody.
I think he's an appointed bureaucrat and he has no right to tell me
what my rights are and what a privilege of being US citizen is.
I'm going to be the first hunter in there for the hunting season
and we planned it that way.
So I'm going as early as I can in this coming year,
but that might not be early enough.
Just once in a while
an individual animal
can capture the public imagination
and change public attitudes.
Worldwide outrage over the death of Cecil the lion.
Killed at the hands of an American dentist.
Cecil's death created a sort of public groundswell of opinion
that's been translated into real action.
You know what, I eat hamburgers.
But that was not a hunt. That was a murder.
This guy must have quite a collection of animal heads.
Here he is posing next to a bear he shot.
He killed, like, half of Noah's Ark.
Killing a lion for sport?
Not in the era of Instagram, Facebook,
not to a generation brought up to relate to Simba.
We'll always be together, right?
No, we won't.
I'll be murdered by a dentist from Minnesota.
See that constellation?
The one that looks like a white guy in his 50s with a fake smile?
Walter fucking Palmer.
You hunted Cecil the lion like a fucking cowardly bitch.
Dentist Palmer, welcome to the court of public opinion.
I'm really happy that social media is getting this story out there.
Got to stop talking about it because I'm going to get really angry.
What would happen if you were being hunted, motherfucker?
We'll never forgive what you did!
In the wake of public outrage over the killing of Cecil the lion,
the three largest US airlines are instituting bans
on carrying trophies as freight.
Somebody is paying for this thing to function.
Someone provides the clothing, the scopes, the outdoor gear,
and it makes the big corporate players in this
think very carefully
about how closely they wish to be associated with certain practices.
And I think that will change and it will change fast
and people will say, "Don't want to be part of this."
Save our lions!
Ban canned hunting!
Save our lions!
Ban canned hunting!
Save our lions!
Ban canned hunting!
Save our lions!
We will shame these people.
We will ostracise these people.
We will put such pressure on our governments that they've got nowhere to go
and it isn't just lions.
A certain gentleman that breeds 1,200 white rhinos in South Africa
and spends 5.2 million rand a year feeding them and looking after them
says he can no longer afford to pay for all of that.
He'll have to cull those animals unless he can sell the rhino horn.
And we've got to say enough is enough.
We won't allow that to happen.
We won't allow South Africa to abuse its position...
Welcome. I'm here tonight to moderate a debate
between two very prominent conservationists.
Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation and Mr John Hume.
I'm very keen to hear what he's going to say.
He's far more experienced than I am in wooing the public.
Don't forget that. That's what he does.
He woos the public.
That's how they collect money and that's why they are so good at it.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
I'm a retired property developer and now custodian of 1,403 rhinos.
If I can sell the horns my 1,400 will become 2,000, 3,000 and 10,000.
I cannot see what is wrong with that
when my rhinos are happy alive.
Come and see them, where they are.
I have the recipe but it takes a lot of money.
I have a way to raise the money
without going begging all over the world.
All I need is for it to be legal.
I don't think there's any legitimate case for you having these animals
in large numbers in private areas of owned land
where you can harvest them, where you can profit from them,
where you can put them into the international market
where we can lead to more destruction.
Excuse me, sir, I don't think you understand Africa.
You simply don't understand Africa.
How many consumers could you supply from your rhinos?
I trim my horns every two years so I can produce with my current rhinos
one tonne of horn a year.
-What about the rest of the population?
-They must do the same.
That's why I want to give them to the communities.
I want to teach the communities.
What about Sumatran rhino? Indian rhino? Once you flood your market...
So you want me to give up and let my rhino all die?
It's all about your rhino. What about the global rhino?
Let the global rhino do the same thing.
You have to speak for all rhino, not just yours.
The if it pays, it stays principal.
The commodification of wildlife.
Elephants will stay if we can sell their ivory.
Lions will stay if the wealthy elite can shoot them for fun.
And rhino will stay, albeit on ranches very similar to Mr Hume's,
if their horns can be sold to remote, distant, deluded buyers.
What a vision of nature that will be.
Contained, confined, commercialised, and counterfeit.
South Africa is yet to decide on a push to end a global ban on buying and selling rhino horn.
The move could open up a 2 billion market
and also determine the fate of the critically endangered species.
Oh, my gosh!
-I got this one.
-You got this one. You're coming back?
CHANTING, THUMPING OF DRUMS, CAR HORNS BLARE
They like to talk about the numbers,
they like to talk about conservation.
They're just green washing, basically,
the fact that they enjoy killing.
And that's basically psychopathic behaviour.
We're seeing a lot of progress for animals.
The change is coming.
We're going to put an end to this.
I'm actually a conservation hunter.
We are very conscientious about what we do hunt
and we don't hunt any endangered species.
-So, I'm against all hunting.
-Just all hunting no matter what?
-No matter what.
-No matter the results or...?
From the conservationists' point of view,
the money that comes in from hunting in those areas where those
conservancies are, is actually what's keeping them there.
Do you honestly think your money goes anywhere except
into someone's back pocket where you are breeding corruption?
We're going to go to the school that we paid for.
-We're going to go to the clinic...
-So, go build a school!
If you want to build a school, I'll shake your hand,
-I'll come build it with you.
-I'm just saying...
Why do you have to shoot an animal to go build a school?
-I'm just saying that's part of our industry.
-It's not the same.
Murder is murder.
It's not murder if it's an animal.
Yes, it is.
Did you murder a chicken that you had for lunch?
I don't eat meat, sweetheart.
-I don't eat meat.
Cos I have regard for all species and all living, breathing things.
Shame on you!
It's human nature to be empathetic with the individual,
and so the animal rights organisations,
that's their thinking, the individual.
As if that's somehow going to protect the entire area,
it's going to protect the whole ecosystem, and it's not.
So they think in terms of Bambi or Simba or Fifi.
Cos we can see Fifi, we know Fifi and we send out photographs
of Fifis to our donors.
Then that's great, OK.
But Fifi might be in the right middle place,
she's right in the most protected area and you're ignoring
everywhere else around the periphery.
And all the people are cutting away and they're filling forests,
they're clearing land and they're bringing their livestock
right next to Fifi.
And it all goes.
They're ignoring the fact that local people
are being killed by lions, being trampled by elephants,
they're losing their crops,
that they do not share their value system.
If you cannot empathise with the local people,
then you're not going to be at all successful in protecting them in
On the other hand, you have the hunters who are convinced that where
they operate, they're the last bastions of support to protect
these areas, but to an animal welfare organisation,
no, no animal must die.
The reality of hunting is that, yes, there are a few places where hunting
does make a difference, but in many areas the economics don't add up.
They're not generating enough money.
The land is being lost, especially in the most corrupt countries.
We've seen it happen over and over in many parts of Africa,
where they go out and say, "Everything's fine."
No, it's not fine.
Things are declining.
What we do is run the camp and kind of manage the on ground management
of the anti-poaching in the area, and we get a daily rate
when foreign hunters come in to hunt here, which...
..really subsidises the money that I have to run my anti-poaching.
You can imagine with all that dust and dirt and rain...
..our firearms take a bit of a hammering.
That's why we like these AK action.
Good old AK, built in Israel.
-Can't really go wrong with it.
We're fighting to save this...
..for the community...
..while people kill it.
It really is pretty weird.
We're fighting to save something so that somebody else can kill it.
It just comes back to control...
..ethic, morals, sustainability.
You can assimilate the two,
the poachers and the commercial hunters,
but the difference is, the poachers...
..they shoot anything for their teeth.
And they will shoot every last one that there is
because there's a commercial driven desire for these teeth.
On the hunting side, if done correctly...
..where there is a very carefully measured off-take...
..I can live with that.
Killing every last animal, no, can't live with that.
Won't do that.
That's just wrong.
-You loaded up there?
You got a loader? You never know what we can bump here.
-I'm not really after a buffalo.
-You know what we're going to need? Bait.
We've got three more places to bait, but it's your call.
You don't need to feel pressured.
How much am I paying for the hippo for bait?
-And how much for the buffalo?
-When you're ready, take it.
This is one of now probably 17 baits we've put up so far for Philip.
We've used hippo, zebra, impala...
..and our biggest problem is they're rotting really quick.
You know, they're only lasting three days, so...
hopefully the cats find us the next two days while they're still fresh
and give us a bit of luck.
You know, the Bible says, "He gave man dominion over all the animals,"
and that dominion comes with a responsibility,
but it also means it's the right to use.
And so I think that is a big part of it, and it's a big part of
appreciating God's creation.
And some people think, "Well, how can you go out
"and shoot God's creation?"
That's a totally false statement, a false point of view.
God said, "We have dominion over the animals" -
that means we can do what we choose with them.
It's a very powerful statement that's in the Bible.
They might go that way.
-Give me the rounds, anyway.
I think it does make it more special for me, as a believer,
to go out there and pursue these animals and know that God
placed them, and when I put my hand on that lion, I can promise you...
..at that moment, as with all of my life,
anybody that believes in evolution is a complete fool.
I just don't understand how people can't understand
that God raised that animal into existence.
A thought came to mind as I was coming here
and beginning to feel the emotion and the anticipation
of this big hunt.
I mean, I've been a...
I've been a hunter my whole life.
They say I fell out of the hunting vehicle when I was two
or three years old and landed on my head, maybe that's what's wrong
with me, sometimes.
And, you know, I lost my dad a few years ago, and he was a hunter.
At the time, I was a little angry with him, the way he would treat me,
but he would do funny things to me to make me learn to hunt.
We'd be in a pick-up, and whether it was a rabbit or a deer,
summer or winter,
we'd be driving along and he would see some game and all he would do is
turn the engine off and sit there and not say a word.
And I would have to find the animal and get out of the vehicle
and go take a shot.
But, no, he challenged me. My dad challenged me in many ways.
That was just one way.
And I think that he would be really tickled to be able
to tell the people back home at the coffee shop -
and when I say coffee shop, I mean the Dairy Queen -
that his son is out hunting a lion.
I think if he was around, he'd have really got a big kick out of that.
HE WHISPERS: It would be better if it was a little bit up, but it's...
Yeah. But it'll work.
But if you could make it up a little bit.
Down just a bit. Right there.
I really feel as if they know that they're in danger.
They know that they're not equipped to avoid extinction.
It is humans that have messed up their lives.
We are to blame.
And it makes me understand that I cannot give up.
Why should we save any species from extinction?
It's almost like, why should we breathe?
It's because it's us!
Surely we want our world to survive?
We want our world to be a better place.
GUNSHOT, BIRDS SQUAWK
Fantastic, bud. An excellent, excellent shot.
HE SIGHS, FLIES BUZZ
Oh, my gosh.
Just lay down in the sticks, didn't he?
I think that was a good idea.
You don't want those to get a hold of you, I promise you that.
Those teeth are just...
What a mane. Look at that red and the black.
The black on his ears.
And he is an old, old male.
Really a one-of-a-kind.
I made the decision several months ago that I was coming to hunt lion,
and this is my trophy and there's not any bureaucrat
that can take it away from me.
-OK, Martin, can we set him up to take some pictures?
Endangered African species like elephants, rhinos and lions come closer to extinction each year; since 1970 the world has lost 60 per cent of all wild animals. Their devastating decline is fuelled in part by a global desire to hunt and kill these majestic animals. This film investigates the industry of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation.
Through the eyes of impassioned individuals who drive this business - from a Texas trophy hunter on a mission to kill 'the big five', to the world's largest private rhino breeder in South Africa, who believes he is saving these extraordinary beasts from becoming extinct - the film grapples with the consequences of imposing economic value on animals. What are the implications of treating animals as commodities? Does breeding, farming and hunting offer the option of conserving endangered animals? Trophy raises provocative debate about the rights and wrongs of killing animals for sport and for profit, and questions the value of these pursuits in saving the planet's great species from extinction.