The multiple award-winning documentary, Stroop- journey into the rhino horn war, has been broadcast on prime time television in Hong Kong.
The public broadcaster, RTHK, recently screened the SA-made documentary, in which the demand for rhino horn is recorded through undercover filming by presenter and producer, Bonné de Bod and director, Susan Scott.
The producer shared, “This is incredible! Stroop is definitely breaking boundaries. Filming in parts of Asia these come with their own risks, as all forms of media are controlled by the communist party. So having the film shown by public broadcaster is a huge step.”
The demand for rhino horn is massive and awareness and education is key.
“Stroop is the real, raw rhino story, so I have no doubt that this screening impacted many and will bring about changed mindsets and perceptions,” added de Bod. Scott said, “We had to film in the rhino horn demand countries: China and Vietnam, albeit undercover and illegal. So it is jaw-dropping that the film was broadcast in a prime-time slot on state television.”
Before arriving in Asia, they were very sceptical about work being done on the ground to change attitudes regarding rhino horn usage.
“We just would not have been able to film the scale of what we did in China and Vietnam without the help of a group of dedicated Asian environmental activists. These activists are committed to saving the world’s rhinos and we have seen firsthand how the Chinese respond to that when they realise the horror they are responsible for. To have Stroop translated into Chinese and seen throughout Hong Kong will further that vital change,” she added.
In other groundbreaking news, the Hong Kong judiciary screened Stroop at a major enforcement workshop, recently.
Hong Kong has become one of the major gateways for wildlife trafficking and a new study, Trading in Extinction: The Dark Side of Hong Kong’s Wildlife Trade* was released at the workshop, where it was estimated that two thirds of the world’s countries are trading wildlife with Hong Kong.
The report sheds light on a high volume and lucrative black market business and, based on seized animal parts alone, 51 rhinos had passed through the city in the past five years.
In addition to the report, the organisers of the workshop also released a one minute clip from Stroop showing a Chinese trafficker being arrested at OR Tambo International Airport for smuggling three rhino horns on a flight to Hong Kong.
This footage has been made available to the Hong Kong press for use in their media reports.
*The report ‘Trading in Extinction: The Dark Side of Hong Kong’s Wildlife Trade’, consolidates a large body of pre-existing work and reconciles this with a snapshot of Hong Kong’s seizure data. It aims to update and, for the first time, illustrate the extent and nature of the wildlife trade and wildlife crime in Hong Kong. It demonstrates that not only is the trade in legal and illegal wildlife at a significant and unsustainable scale, it is likely to get worse. Further, while Hong Kong plays a primary role in connecting trafficked products with their illegal markets, the administration should and could do more to disrupt the associated criminal activity.