The Last Animals

Another negative effect of the COVID pandemic is that focus on the climate change issue has fallen off the radar. COVID is a now threat while the health of the planet is thought of as something which is going to happen in the future. This is wrong. We cannot delay improving how we treat the natural environment. One of the immediate effects of this is the other species we share the planet with are suffering. Greatly. A majestic animal like the Northern White Rhino has seen its numbers dwindle. To the point of extinction. Very sad.

Here director Kate Brooks, who is a conflict or war zone photojournalist, brings us closer to the story. The story of the fight by a group of people to save as many species as they can. Species like the Northern White Rhino…a fight they lost. Now they are seeing the same signs pointing towards elephants. That due to the elimination of their territory, conflict with ever expanding human population and poachers who kill them to sell their tusks. Tusks in which the price is around the same as that for gold. Very tempting source of income for people in the developing world where the majority of the world’s elephant population exists.

What is happening to the elephant population is presented in the film like a type of genocide. A purposeful killing off of these beautiful animals. Shameful really. We know the signs because of the Northern White Rhino and what has happened to them. The population is now in single digits. Largely due to climate and poaching. Poaching because of the horn which some believe possesses either aphrodisiac or healing properties. Falsely because the horn is made up of keratin, just like our nails. Nothing special. Yet they have been slaughtered.

We get to see things we might not have. Things like markets in Asia where these products are sold. An attempt to extract eggs from the last female Northern White Rhino in order to attempt to breed them as the female has shown no interest in breeding with the remaining males. How the park rangers are trained to locate and stop the poachers. A true behind the scenes of the horror of these animals being slaughtered just for a single body part.

While there are many crises happening on the globe this is one in which it seems like we have turned our backs on. Collectively. Other than a small group of people who bravely and steadfastly are fighting for the survival of elephants. Park rangers, activists and scientists who are trying to raise our awareness of what is going on. Put the plight of the elephants back on the world’s radar. We must fight against poaching and trafficking in order to save rhinos and elephants or they and other species will disappear forever.

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