Conservation Trip with Empowers Africa, Wildlands and WildlifeACT

This film features the critical conservation work done on rhinos, elephants and lions at the Somkhanda Game Reserve in South Africa as part of a unique travel model to use travelers’ donations to fund vital life-saving conservation work. The film showcases the exceptional work of Wildlands, Wildlife ACT and Dr. Mike Toft of Kifaru Wildlife Veterinary Services. Filmmakers and Black Bean Productions' founders James Suter and Oli Caldow joined the trip to document the experience. Members of the traveling team funded and participated in conservation activities including collaring elephants and lion as well as rhino de-horning.

The travelers were able to participate in the collaring of 2 bull elephants. Collaring allows the conservation teams on the ground to monitor the elephant population as well as understand the social integration patterns and behavior of the herds and how they interact. Collaring an animal that as large as an elephant can be extraordinarily difficult, but the experienced team made up of Wildlands/WildTrust, Wildlife ACT and Dr. Mike Toft of Kirafru Wildlife Veterinary Services ensured a successful collaring as well as the safety of the elephants and participants.

The team of travelers also participated in the collaring of two lionesses and one male lion. Collaring lions is an essential way of determining patterns of movement, lion social structures and their interaction with humans, making it easier to mitigate any potential human-wildlife conflict.

Finally, the team had the chance to participate in the life-saving exercise of de-horning rhinos. The temporary de-horning (it grows back just like your fingernails) is one of the most effective methods used to keep rhinos safe from poachers. The helped in de-horning and collaring of 5 individuals – 2 black and 3 white.

We hope you find the film both educational and inspirational.

  • Empowers Africa/Black Bean Productions
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  • Empowers Africa
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  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 47 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 7, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    South Africa
  • Country of Filming:
    South Africa
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • NorCal Film Festival
    San Jose
    United States
    November 2, 2019
    North America Screening
  • Independent Short Awards
    United States
    December 14, 2019
    North America Screening
  • Accolade Global Film Festival
    La Jolla
    United States
    November 25, 2019
    North America Screening
Distribution Information
  • Empowers Africa
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Empowers Africa/Black Bean Productions

Krista received her undergraduate degree in business administration from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and qualified as a Certified Public Accountant when she moved to New York City in 1993. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two children and is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Empowers Africa. She has made over 7 short documentaries over the last several years, some winning awards at various film festivals. She is a former Senior Tax Manager for Ernst & Young LLP, former Chair of the Board of Trustees of Africa Foundation (USA), former trustee of Africa Foundation (SA) and the African Wildlife Foundation. Krista has traveled extensively throughout Africa and was honored with The African Diaspora Award for “The Friend of Africa” by Applause Africa magazine on December 8th, 2012. Krista was honored at the Voss Foundation’s Third Annual Women Helping Women event in the Hamptons on August 7th, 2017.

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Director Statement

This film is an example of harnessing eco-tourism to fund vital conservation work in Africa.