Two upcoming documentaries examine our complex relationships with exotic animals and how all too often, animals pay the price for human greed and negligence.
The Genesis Award-winning Elephant in the Living Room, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Michael Webber, examines the exotic-pet industry in the United States, profiling a man who keeps lions in rusty cages in his backyard and a law-enforcement officer who has spent his career responding to the often-tragic consequences of people’s keeping big cats and other exotic “pets” in their backyards.
A recent PETA case in Kansas exemplifies how bad it can get for captive big cats. Three lions and two tigers were confined to dilapidated pens surrounded by piles of junk until PETA was able to secure their release to better locations.
Further away from home but equally compelling, the upcoming IMAX film Born to Be Wild 3D follows the lives of orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue, protect, and rehabilitate them. World-renowned primatologist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas and eminent elephant authority Dame Daphne Sheldrick work in Borneo and Africa against all odds to return wild animals to their natural habitats.
You can help captive wildlife by refusing to patronize roadside zoos, pseudo-sanctuaries, and circuses. Also, be sure to complain whenever you see exotic animals used in TV shows and commercials. Don’t miss either of these powerful films, coming soon to a theater near you.
Written by Jennifer O’Connor