There are only an estimated 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the wild, loss of habitat is a major factor in the decline of this species. Rainforest is being actively cleared by pulpwood plantations, putting added pressure onto endangered species in Indonesia. Find out more about the tragic cost of rainforest destruction in Idonesia: greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/forests/
Special thanks to Greenpeace and WWF for the footage used in this video. wwf.org/
Unsuspecting lessons from the making of this film:
1.) Just because it is a jungle does not mean you are going to see wildlife; if the jungle is so dense you don’t see anything
2.) Environmental policies are good for the environment but potentially destructive to cultures
To make this series, my two partners and I spend a month traveling in and around the Dja Reserve. It is home to 107 mammal species, including endangered gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants. It is also home to over 6,000 Baka and other native forest people. Everything Baka use comes from the forest. They are subsistence hunters – they kill just enough meat to feed their village. Recent government regulations restricting hunting began a snowball of corruption and cultural degradation.
Being guests of a respected organization allowed us unique access. The village chief invited us to witness intimate Baka traditions. And the ECO Guards were forthcoming with honest details of the situation. My interviews were translated from English to French, and sometimes English to French to Baka. I relied on a trustworthy interpreter and quickly learned to ask direct, simple questions.
A new gold rush is sweeping through the Amazon rainforest where scores of women and men hunt for nuggets and specks of gold. But this race for gold is bringing on the destruction of one of the last earthly paradises, the world’s largest tropical forest, the lungs of our planet, where everything and anything can be paid in gold.
As a result, a gold ingot cycle has developed—with its batch of insolvents, prostitutes, godfathers, traffickers, whether in French Guiana, Brazil or Suriname. Gold has brought upon disease, mercury, crime, alcoholism. Gold has turned creeks and rivers into dumping grounds.
This cycle is that of the destruction of men by men. Whereas the Amazonian rainforest releases 300 tons of gold each year, it receives 120 tons of mercury. An uneven trade: treasure against poison. And as the backdrop, all sorts of traffics are arising: people, weapons, drugs.
In the depths of this borderless jungle also lies the tragedy of the Wayanas, a Native American tribe from Guiana, who are being poisoned by mercury, the element essential to gold mining. The Wayanas are doomed by a looming disappearance. Congenital malformations have already been observed in children. The elderly are developing neurological disorders and cancers. Along with the outrage that is mercury comes another massacre of Indians.
The New Eldorado is enduring one of the world’s worst globalization disasters.