Seattle billionaire Paul Allen’s ongoing efforts to shed light on the plight of African elephants comes to Netflix on Friday as the new documentary film “The Ivory Game” will premiere on the streaming service.
The film, from Allen’s Vulcan Productions, offers an inside look at the world of ivory trafficking. The multi-billion dollar poaching industry relies on a pipeline that starts in Africa, runs through Vietnam and supplies a skyrocketing demand in China. The price is increasing as ivory becomes scarcer.
The film’s ultimate intent is to educate people about the crisis and show that humans can be the solution to a human problem. Directed by Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson, “The Ivory Game” was executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Another Vulcan film, called “Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale,” tells the story of a baby elephant born into a rescue camp in Botswana.
It’s all part of a massive effort by Allen and company to stem the tide toward extinction. In August, the Microsoft co-founder’s Great Elephant Census was released and showed how severe the decline in African savanna elephant populations has become.
“In order to save the elephants, we need stronger anti-poaching patrols in Africa’s parks, more protection for elephant habitats and the political will to apprehend and sentence ivory trafficking kingpins,” Allen wrote in a blog post this summer. “Yet even these vital measures are only half the equation. In addition to eliminating the supply of ivory, we also need to do a lot more to reduce the demand for ivory.”
According to Vulcan, Allen was even on the ground in Tanzania with “The Ivory Game” directors while they were shooting with Elisifa Ngowi, a key character in the film who heads up the country’s special crimes unit. Allen was able to see firsthand how dangerous the work was to expose illegal ivory trade.