shared this with me, and I thought why not? It looked pretty intersering and I thought some of you would want to help~~
Lion and tiger populations have plummeted from over 200,000 individuals back in the 1960′s to fewer than 25,000 today. The African lions' numbers are diminishing rapidly due to habitat destruction, persecution by livestock farmers outside of protected areas, and human greed. 10,000-15,000 free-roaming African lions remain, down from 50,000 a decade ago.
Big cats are fast approaching extinction in their natural habitats, yet thousands of lions, tigers and other species are held in captivity around the World for our personal enjoyment. Those in the wild now only survive on the grounds of National Parks and various conservations in Africa. Taming the King explores big cats in captivity firsthand, from the people who know them the best; their owners, trainers and the skilled people out to protect them.
How many people have been to a circus? Or visited a zoo?
Uncommon questions. But think about it. There are thousands of zoos Worldwide, so obviously there is quite a large market of visitors out there.
I’m willing to bet that majority of people living in North America can say they have seen a lion or tiger at one point or another in their life. Whether it has been in a zoo, a circus, a magic show, a parade… or maybe even your neighbours’ backyard.
-I have a question.
-Did it leave you mesmerized?
-Caught up in how exotic and fascinating they were?
-I can’t blame you. It got me too.
At first, I was so focused on how magnificently beautiful these creatures were. How their composition and markings were like artwork, so compelling and exquisite.
But the big picture settled in rapidly.
Their paws rested on concrete floors, their faces looked so dull and somber - I couldn’t help but feel guilt-ridden. Up until then, I had only seen big cats on television; hunting amongst their grassy lands on the Discovery Channel. They had always seemed so primitive and fierce on the telly but the animals in front of me, barely batted an eyelash at my existence.
Maybe I caught them on a bad day. Maybe Discovery’s magic camera angles and money shots gave me a false perception of what these animals should be like - but this experience left me both ashamed and curious. Ashamed because I felt like I was supporting the need to take these wild animals out of their habitat and curious about who keeps care of these wild cats in captivity. I wanted to know what their work day was like, whether they always wanted to work with animals, and if they felt like they were in danger or were comfortable around the cats. I had so many questions I wanted answered and this lead me to the inspiration for this documentary.
I’ve noticed humans are completely fascinated with wild animals. Popular culture is obsessed with all things cute and furry. Daily, I scroll through posts and videos of animals doing silly things, or amazing moments in the wild. It is no wonder zoos and circuses are popular. But on the other hand, I’ve seen my share of animal abuse stories. Plus lately, a boycott of the zoo and circus movement has taken a rise due to the efforts of Peta. Animal rights are getting more and more attention. I can’t help but wonder how this is affecting the animals, their trainers, the visitors, as well as the zoos and circuses in
operation. I want to hear all sides of the story, and I want you to hear it too.
I have been dreaming up this documentary for a few years, and since being selected to direct a documentary in my final year of film school this dream is on the way to becoming a reality. Since this is part of Niagara College’s film curriculum most of our equipment will be provided BUT our crew is not allocated funds to produce the documentary and it is up to us to find a way to support our journey financially. We would like to be able to visit South Africa, see big cats in the wild and participate in conservation efforts – however, a film crew traveling internationally can be really expensive! Our goal is to raise at least enough for our crew to travel within North America to document various zoos, circus’ and rehabilitation centers. We are planning to start production and shooting this winter/spring and we really need your help to make it happen! 100% of your contributions will go towards production costs and travel expenses for the Taming the King film crew. Help us give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.