Hollywood actor Tom Hardy presents a new TV documentary Poaching Wars which starts on Thursday 22 August 2013 at 9pm (GMT). The two part ITV series will highlight the senseless slaughter of hippos and elephants to the very brink of extinction.
The BAFTA-award winning British actor is used to playing very physical, sinister characters such as troubled Bane in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises and violent prisoner Charles Bronson in Bronson. And with this new documentary, Tom explores the very real and very stark reality of wildlife poaching within Africa. The ruthless and barbaric wholesale practice is documented across South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana.
The harsh truth is that poaching has reached epic proportions: in fact South Africa lost 50% more rhinos last year than the previous year. South Africa is home to 90% of all the remaining rhinos within Africa and nearly 700 were slaughtered last year. Rhinos are targeted for their horns, which are severed from the animals, which are then left to bleed to death. The horns sell for up to £65,000 (99,000 USD) each by the Asian black market for use on the medicine market, despite the fact that there is no scientific or medical evidence that these ‘medicines’ work. If poaching continues at this pace rhinos will be extinct within ten years. The WWF has more details on the African rhino poaching crisis and how you can help.
Tom Hardy's production company has released the video below, which shows a series of still shots. A word of warning though: the images are graphic, but reveal the true extent of the issues;
Watch the WWF video below on the African rhino poaching crisis;
Tom also explores the illegal elephant poaching trade in Tanzania, where it’s thought that up to 30 elephants are slaughtered every day. In Botswana Tom joins an anti-poaching patrol team as they deploy dedicated wildlife officers using helicopters, specially kitted-out jeeps and drones to track poachers.
In fact Tom, who has a young son, was so touched by the scenes he saw on a research trip, that he opted to co-produce the series with his own production company as well as present Poaching Wars.
The illegal ivory trade blights most of Sub-Saharan Africa with Mozambique, Cameroon, Chad and the Democratic Republic of the Congo facing particular crisis. The WWF has more details on how travellers can get involved.
During his journey across the African continent, Tom meets farmers, anti-poaching wardens and gets up close to the poachers themselves, who often risk their own lives.
Tom also stars in another animal-based movie coming out early 2014; "Animal Rescue" which also stars the late great actor James Gandolfini, who will be sorely missed.
Image Credit 2; Vanessa Lua