The movie “Blood Diamonds” in 2006 with actor Leonardo DiCaprio brought worldwide attention to the human atrocities centered on the mining of diamonds in African war zones. For many it was the first time they heard the term or had any concrete understanding of the issues. DiCaprio and two of his buddies hope to bring that same kind of global awareness to the plight of African rhinos and elephants, both on the brink of extinction, with two new Hollywood projects.
Warner Bros. studios has given the green light to actors Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy to develop two separate films about the devastating problem of animal poaching and illegal animal smuggling in Africa.
The first project was written by Sheldon Turner (“Up In The Air”) and is being produced by Maguire and DiCaprio. The story was inspired by Hardy’s real-life friends who were former Special Forces operatives that became anti-poaching fighters in South Africa. The film will focus on how poachers are destroying the rhino and elephant populations in Zimbabwe.
The second movie, which is not yet written, will detail how “the trafficking industry” kills African animals so their tusks and horns can be sold for aphrodisiacs and “supposed” healing properties used in traditional Chinese medicine.
The projects come at a critical time for both the African rhinos and elephants whose populations are shrinking every month. Matthew Wilkinson, founder and editor of the Safaritalk blog, estimated that 50 rhinos are killed for their horns each month throughout Africa. He also stated “as of mid-October, 439 rhinos had been killed so far in 2012.” There are a reported 20,000 wild rhinos on the continent.
News is not much better for African elephants who are brutally slaughtered by poachers for their ivory tusks. Poachers even venture onto wildlife preserves to kill the animals.
There is no release date for either movie project, but for the sake of the animals, hopefully it won’t be too long.
Photo Credit: EvaRinaldinameofphotographer