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Conservation by killing? 'Trophy' asks if commerce can save threatened species

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 01:45

Documentary 'Trophy' asks could a hunter's bullet be a tool in helping to save Africa's endangered species from extinction? Rough Cut - no reporter narration.

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Could a hunter's bullet be a tool in helping to save Africa's endangered species from extinction? The question is one of the many complex ethical dilemmas raised by "Trophy", a documentary which examines whether commerce can help wildlife conservation. The film, directed by Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau, examines some of the ways that threatened species are used for commercial gain, from elephants being auctioned to hunters as prey, to Rhinos being farmed for their horns. While the pair started the project with the intention of shaming the hunting industry, they soon found that that situation was more complex than they had imagined. The film follows Texan hunter Philip Glass, as he works towards getting "The Big Five," trophies - lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. The footage of his kills will be disturbing to many viewers, but the film also takes care to show that the industry does benefit the local community, in terms of both meat and money - an argument that the industry pushes strongly. A less violent but equally controversial blend of capitalism and conservation is found in rhino breeder John Hume. The film details his struggle against poachers on his South African Rhino farm, which is home to over 1,500 animals, whose horns he harvests every two years. But he lamented that despite his successful legal battles against the South African government, he still cannot sell his rhino horn legally, meaning that his farm has lost him huge amounts of money. Despite the challenges facing many of the species depicted in the film, the filmmakers have some hope for the future, and said they hope that their work will encourage people to take a broader view of the issue. "Trophy" is available in cinemas and on digital download from November 17.

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Conservation by killing? 'Trophy' asks if commerce can save threatened species

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 01:45