Filmmaker Rogue Rubin puts her own safety on the line to uncover the extent of the still legal trophy hunting of endangered lions in Africa. Available on all major digital platforms from 1st August.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Rogue Rubin is on a mission to save the lions in Africa from being hunted for sport as she goes deep undercover creating a fake social media account to promote herself as a photographer of big game trophy hunters. She manages to gain the trust of a trophy hunting organiser who allows her on his safari hunt enabling her to photograph the trophy hunters paying big bucks to come to Africa to shoot and kill lions.
With some disturbingly graphic images of lions and other big game wildlife being shot, this hard hitting conservation documentary gives a real sense of the lions’ struggle for survival. With telling statistics, their ever dwindling numbers (largely impacted by human encroachment on their habitat, the bush meat trade and lion bone trade) have decreased by 85% in the past twenty-one years. It is trophy hunting here that Rubin has picked out as the ‘smoke screen’ for all the other contributing factors, perhaps because it is the most visually startling to witness.
Watching the tourists come on these hunting expeditions reveals a peculiar mix of families with hunting in the blood to the pleasure seekers ‘bored with too much money.’ For most people it’s hard to understand this blood sport unless it’s part of your everyday life. America is singled out as the largest importer of trophy hunted lions, a country which recently made it illegal, only for it to be quickly re-introduced – underlining its political and economic influence that divides opinion.
Rogue is prepared to go into the wild, with men and guns, to get the footage that shows these adventure thrill seekers killing in the cold light of day where even the most blood thirsty of hunters has a mixed look of glee and horror when face to face with their prize – although not all.
It seems unfathomable that a tourist industry is allowed to continue the practice of killing these majestic creatures especially in today’s world of environmental activism. Anyone brave enough to enter the lion’s den and tell their story must surely have a just one and Rogue’s message is to enjoy the wildlife like most tourists do from the safety of a safari truck where the only shooting required is done by a camera – but, as she also shows, you’ve still got to be careful not to get your arse bitten.
Film: Lion Spy
Director: Rogue Rubin
Genre: Documentary, Wildlife
Stars: Rogue Rubin
Run time: 1hr 16min