A fight to survive, when waters run dry….
Award winning filmmaker Louise Hogarth’s latest work will premier at the Sonoma International Film Festival later this month. It presents a crisis of elephantine proportions playing out in the dry sandy Kalahari woodlands of eastern Botswana.
A determined family of caring people is caught in the middle of the drama. Life changed forever for the family when climate change intensified the frequent droughts, and hundreds of elephants arrived at Elephant Sands Bush Camp to drink water from the ancient pan.
With narration by Game of Thrones’s Jerome Flynn (Serr Bronn of the Blackwater), Elephant Refugees tells the inextricable stories of the family and their giant neighbours.
For the past 50 years International crime syndicates have poached wildlife throughout Africa in shocking quantities – forcing the elephants to flee for their lives using the ancient elephant pathways.
When Botswana became a poacher-free zone in 2014, the news quickly spread from one elephant family to another, sparking a great migration. We don’t know how elephants communicate over hundreds of miles, but they do. Sixty per cent of Africa’s elephants now live in Botswana. However in the midst of completing the film – an unspeakable update as the new government overturned the hunting ban and once again Botswana’s elephants are on the auction block.
In January 2020 Safari Club International auctioned, a 14-Day Elephant Hunt, in Botswana. Currently, Southern Africa is experiencing the worst drought in living memory.
Attending this screening will hopefully be one of many critical moments in the global awakening to the plight of these glorious giants.
Speaking to Hogarth:
My relationship with elephants began during the making of Angels In The Dust. The orphanage, featured in my documentary, was located neat the Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa. I learned orphaned baby elephants had been re-located to the park after their parents were killed in a cull – killing adult elephants to control herd size tears apart the complex social fabric of elephant culture. Without their role models to teach good elephant behavior the young
Elephants are extraordinarily emotional beings. They are conscious of themselves as individuals. They feel joy, experience sadness, pain, pleasure and grief. They cry real tears and exhibit beautiful qualities of compassion and protection. Elephants need increased understanding and tolerance from we humans. Through deepening our connection with them and opening our hearts to them, we may eventually be able to return to a peaceful co-existence with them. These are truly gentle giants who simply want to be respected, honored for who they are and left in peace.
One African elephant is killed every 15 minutes that equals 40,000 a year. Africa’s total estimated elephant population is less than 400,000 if the killing continues; elephants will be extinct in 10 years. Together, we can and must make an effort to save Africa’s elephants. I don’t want to live in a world without elephants.