The killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist created a tsunami of emotion around the world. However, this global outcry did little to deter the international trophy hunting cartels. In their world, the majestic White Lion, one of the rarest animals to inhabit our planet today, is a step up from Cecil. With its striking white fur and blue eyes it is unequivocally the most prized and valuable of all animal trophies.
To the Shangaan tribe of Timbavati, the White Lions play a critical role in maintaining the balance and health of our entire ecosystem. The Shangaan believe that if these majestic creatures become extinct - so too will our entire ecosystem collapse.
This feature documentary will explore these two diametrically opposing viewpoints. It will take us into the shamanic mythology of these predators that can be traced back to the earliest accounts of civilization, the great pyramids of Giza and the mystery of the Sphynx.
It's focus is to bring global awareness to this unprecedented crises of special eradication and inform the audience that, in ecological terms; this same Lion is the apex predator, key to the survival of the entire ecosystem.
Two-thirds of wildlife will disappear by 2020, WWF says
The Living Planet Report from the World Wildlife Foundation made headlines on October 30, 2016. The report went on to say that “Global populations have plunged 60% since 1970 and that Wildlife is disappearing within our lifetimes at an unprecedented rate."
This alarming report came on the heels of the CITES conference in Johannesburg, where conservationists had lobbied for Lions to be upgraded to the Endangered Species Category – but instead, were shocked when CITES (the regulator of international trade in 35,000 species of plants and animals), approved the trade of lion “bone”, where lions are farmed in cages and their bones ground down to make fake aphrodisiacs and traditional medicines for the Asian market.
It is incomprehensible to consider the WWF statistics and the impact on future generations. Our documentary, MYSTERY OF THE WHITE LIONS, presents the White Lion as a symbol of the fragility of all endangered species, exploring the economic and political forces behind the bone trade, behind “canned hunting” where lions are bred for slaughter by trophy hunters, and role both of Zoos and the powerful international trophy hunting cartels. Because of the urgency of the situation and the unprecedented access offered by The Global White Lion Trust, Martinelli Films sent a crew to South Africa to help give voice to this global crises through a feature documentary.
The White Lions are critically endangered, kept captive and hunted for trophy. Though, through the help of people such as Linda Tucker, and the Global White Lion Protection Trust, the species is slowly being reintroduced into their natural habitat.