We Don’t Kill Lions Anymore

Lionness and Cub


Language: Maa with English subtitles
Running time: 27 minutes

Lion Hunting was once a tradition in Maasai Culture Today with fewer than 200 wild Maasai lions left, the Maasai are now becoming their greatest protectors. This is an educational film made for the Maasai explaining how to participate in the exceptional conservation programme called the Predator Compensation Fund. This film – in coordination with the team of the Maasailand Preservation Trust, located in the 275,000 acre Mbirikani Game Ranch of Southern Kenya’s Chyulu Hills, Ol Donyo Wuas Trust and National Geographic Big Cat Initiative – forms an integral part of the education element of a well coordinated educational, reward and prevention programme that has dramatically halted the decline in lion and other predator numbers in this part of Kenya.

The film, narrated in the local language Maa, with English subtitles explains the workings of the Predator Compensation Fund, a fund that compensates Maasai if their livestock is killed by lion, cheetah, leopard or hyena. It encourages lion and Maasai to live together, with a strong disincentive in place to prevent rules being broken. The film is shown to each and every village in conjunction with their local community representative and liaison on hand to explain any uncertain areas and has had universal buy-in from the communities in the area.

Positive results:

On average 24 lions were killed each year in the 275,000 acre Maasai-owned Mbirikani Game Ranch (population around 10,000) before the Predator Compensation Fund (PCF) was introduced in this area in June 2003. After the scheme’s introduction just 4 lions were killed in total in a six year period. The PCF has expanded to neighbouring ranches in the Amboseli-Chyulu Hills area with similar dramatic reduction in lion deaths. Cattle are now corralled into sufficient, protective kraals to prevent predation. Lion Guardians, scouts employed to look out and radio in lion sitings prevent cattle from grazing close to where lions are known. Maasai are being educated to live along side wild animals and see the benefits tourism and conservation brings to their communities with greater education opportunities and reward. This film has, as an educational medium, significantly helped in the PCF scheme’s success. They don’t kill lions anymore.


Directed, Filmed and Edited by Kire Godal for National Geographic Big Cat Initiative and Ol Donyo Wuas Trust
Witten: Richard Bonham, Tom Hills

By Jason Peters

A Wild Dog’s Story

African Wild Dog


A poignant, true story about a heroic African Wild Dog named “Newky” whose exceptional life was scientifically documented over a period of five years by the worlds most renowned wild dog biologist, Dr. J. Weldon “Tico” McNutt.

Through Tico’s personal recollections, the film is the dramatic account of Newky’s life, a story that is both heartbreaking and important to understanding the challenges wild dogs face.

Set against the spectacular wilderness of Botswana’s Okavango delta, we follow Newky’s story from the dangers and joys of puppy-hood, through the loss of his siblings in encounters with lions, and into the trials of adulthood.

In a tragic twist of fate Newky’s entire pack is wiped out by an epidemic. Alone, he is forced to endure dangers that should be met by a strong, coherent pack. When finally he finds a mate, she is tragically killed by a farmer’s bullet. Newky remains undaunted, and ultimately succeeds in fathering a new generation of wild dogs.

This is a tale of struggle, endurance and triumph, and of one dog’s extraordinary spirit to win through against almost impossible odds. Above all, it is an emotionally powerful story that shows the complex natural and conservation challenges facing one of the world’s most endangered social mammals.

Positive results:

The wild dog has traditionally been perceived in a negative light, and treated as vermin throughout Africa. The film changed perceptions about African Wild Dogs amongst many viewers around the world:

“I have seen probably every wildlife documentary over the last 10 years. None has touched me so much as the Wild Dog’s Story. Never before has a documentary grasped like this one, the struggle for survival of wildlife. I never thought I could be brought to tears by a wildlife documentary, and I’m an ex-marine!!!”

Most importantly, perceptions were changed which directly saved Wild Dogs from persecution.

Namibian farmer: “I grew up in Namibia and spent years in Botswana. Wild dogs were a pest to me. How this film has changed my perception of them! Thank you for allowing us to understand and appreciate the wild dog.”

There are farmers who, as a direct result of viewing the film, contacted Dr McNutt to discuss wild dog management instead of shooting.

The Japanese used the film in children’s education. A writer from South America, inspired by the film, wrote a children’s story in Spanish about African Wild dogs, based on the film.

The film assisted the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust in fundraising, which significantly contributed to continuing this important study, that is now in its 3rd decade.


Producers: Tania “TJ’ Jenkins & Mike Holding
Postal: PO Box HA 40 HAK, Maun, Botswana
Phone: +267 6862570 /+267 6863721 /+267 6801123
Series Producer: Michael Gunton – BBC NHU
Also see: http://www.truenaturefilms.com/wilddog.htm
For more detailed information about Dr Tico McNutt’s work, please visit: http://www.bpctrust.org/

By Jason Peters


Elephants Without Borders

Title: Elephants Without Borders


Elsewhere in Africa elephants are in decline, but Botswana has an overpopulation problem with over 150,000. A pre-emptive cull of over 60,000 has been suggested. Dr. Mike Chase’s research finds real and meaningful solutions to Botswana’s problem. Chase is discovering their ancient migration routes, now blocked by expanding human settlement, and is lobbying the governments of neighboring counties to open gaps for safe passage.

Previously unrecorded annual gatherings, numbering over 5000 elephants, suggests an elephant intellect far more complex than previously imagined. Dr Chase believes that these clan gatherings reinforce bonds between family groups and that survival strategies are shared.

The film reveals new science about elephant movements and home range sizes. Chase tracks a bull elephant with an astounding home range of 35,000 sq kilometres – the largest ever recorded for an African elephant. Female home range sizes are discovered to be nearly five times the previously accepted average of 3000 square kilometres.

Bull elephants living in the Makgadigadi salt pans are filmed for the first time as Mike discovers how they survive in the hostile desert.

In the end the film reveals the solution: Chase has identified corridors that will allow Angola’s refugee elephants to return home after 30 years of civil war.

Positive results:

As documented by Dr. Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders Organisation (“EWB”):

The film helped open dialogue between five African countries and has had a direct impact on elephant conservation in Botswana and beyond. The film has:

  • Provided EWB with an audience with the Botswana Government, who then provided EWB with funding to conduct the first independent aerial survey of elephants (and other wildlife) in the Botswana.
  • Boosted the profile of elephant conservation in KAZA (Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier), the world’s largest conservation area straddling Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The film has been viewed by the Government Departments in the five countries charged with formalising KAZA.
  • Aided EWB in securing funding from Conservation Agencies in the amount of US$50 000.00, all of which has been ploughed back into elephant conservation and the KAZA Transfronteir Conservation area.
  • Helped secure funding for EWB’s conservation farming project, in which EWB are researching techniques to keep elephants out of farmlands and thus reduce human elephant conflict.
  • Brought awareness which helped prioritise conservation corridors and areas to initially de-mine in South-eastern Angola in collaboration with the Angolan government and MgM demining company.
  • Created dialogue amongst decision makers on the decommissioning and re-alignment of Botswana’s Vet Fences.
  • Increased awareness amongst the youth about elephant conservation in Botswana.


Producers: Tania “TJ’ Jenkins & Mike Holding
Series Producer: Tim Martin BBC NHU
For more detailed information about the Project and Mike Chase’s work, please visit: http://www.elephantswithoutborders.org

By Jason Peters