Directed by Ashley Scott Davison
In Kenya at dusk, a majestic, reticulated giraffe is suddenly surrounded by a group of hungry villagers armed with machetes. The next morning, it is never to be seen again…
With poachers, human encroachment, and war-torn landscapes closing in fast on the planet’s tallest animal, how is it that the majority of the world is oblivious to the giraffe’s fight against extinction? Spanning three continents and seven countries and with the majority of the filming shot in 4K, Walking With Giraffes takes you to the frontlines with the conservationists, doctors and researchers behind the battle to protect the fragile way of life of these gentle giants. From the war-torn border of Northern Kenya, the cobblestone streets of Denmark and to the poacher’s playground of Zimbabwe, the film, directed by Ashley Scott Davison, will bring to light the fragile plight of the giraffe, and in uncovering its peril, it will discover humanity’s greatest challenge: coexistence with the natural world.
The dramatic journey of Walking With Giraffes goes deep into the wild and shows the world through a giraffe’s eyes. Highlights include a visit with cutting-edge innovator Dr. Francois Deacon at the University of Free State South Africa, who has designed GPS collaring systems. Catching and collaring wild giraffe is a high-octane and dangerous undertaking, and we follow Dr. Deacon as he monitors their experience across various African terrains and witness their place among lions, buffalo and elephants. In addition, the film captures POV footage from atop a giraffe’s head, the first time anyone has seen ‘the best view in Africa’.
In the past decade alone, there has been an unbelievable 80% decline in giraffe types in what has been deemed a “silent extinction.” Walking With Giraffes goes to the thick forests of the South Luangwa Valley in Zambia, which is home to the last known population of Thornicroft’s giraffe. The film speaks to local NGOs who are desperately working to preserve the delicate balance of wildlife and humankind. Also journeying to the South African Bush to the one stable population of giraffes, the film attempts to discover what hope can be found in the tangled relationship between humanity and nature. South Africa is unique from the majority of Africa, in that it not only allows big game hunting, but actively promotes it. Which brings about the widely debated question: should hunting be considered conservation?
The last place one might imagine giraffes is in the colds of Northern Europe. But in 2013, amidst a blizzard of social media activity, the Copenhagen Zoo announced it was going to kill one of its young male giraffes named Marius. The backlash from their news was merciless, with representatives from the zoo even receiving death threats. The film features the first official behind-the-scenes interview about the Marius incident to answer questions that so many around the world had asked about Marius: Is a single life worth preserving?
Walking With Giraffes encompasses sublime and unexpected locations: from the mountains of Uganda to the Texas zoo where rare twin giraffes were recently born. We travel through worlds of lion prides, elephant herds; through valleys and waterfalls. The end result is a word of caution: if the tallest and most recognizable animal in the world is disappearing without the public knowing, then what is happening to all of the other animals not on anyone’s radar
Through a myriad of interviews with relevant political and international figures and by incorporating high-end technology such as drones, Steadicams, and POV cameras — cinematic elements not often found in nature films — Walking With Giraffes delivers new behavioral and recently revealed scientific information about this threatened animal that could contribute to its future survival while changing the way we think about the giraffe forever.