By Joel Banner Baird
The resurgence of illegal trade in African elephant ivory has the world’s largest land animal on a 10-year track to extinction, scientists say.
“Battle for the Elephants,” a National Geographic documentary film, tracks the bloody decline.
A free public screening of the film at 4 p.m. on Thursday at University of Vermont’s Ira Allen Chapel aims to raise the alarm.
A panel discussion of “blood ivory” will follow the screening.
Among the more unsettling topics to be raised: Profits from ivory sales (as with drug and weapons trafficking) help finance terror groups like Al Shabaab that thrive on environmental and political instability, said John Heminway, the film’s writer, producer and director.
Reached Monday at his home in Bozeman, Mont., Heminway told the Burlington Free Press that “Battle for the Elephants” begins as a stark story of supply and demand, and develops into a call for action.
Public response to the film has “gobsmacked” its producers, Heminway added: “We thought everyone knew this story. It turns out we were wrong.”
The film was the “Best Conservation Program” winner at the 2013 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. More....