All five of the world’s diverse species of rhinoceros have been brought to the edge of extinction because of human appetite for their distinctive horns. The rhinoceros is on the edge of extinction and its only real enemy, “humans” are the rhinoceros last hope.
Mike and Valerie take the viewer behind the scenes of this noble quest to “Save the Rhinoceros” and explore the role aviation plays in the process.
Among the most ancient of animals, rhinoceroses thrived for millions of years before meeting their most deadly enemy: humans.
Education of the Chinese population helped eradicate the poaching to a low in 2008, the animals future looked bright. Sadly in 2010 a politician in Viet Nam made a public claim that the horn had cured his cancer, revitalizing the illegal trade and driving the Rhino, to the brink of extinction
. During the past century, the rhinos of Africa and Asia have been pushed out of their habitats and hunted nearly to extinction for their horns, which are believed — erroneously — to possess healing properties. Now, thanks to the efforts of conservationists and scientists, the rhinos are on their way back.
Aviation is the pivotal tool in the advancement of quashing the Illegal poaching for the international rhino horn. This effort is designed to enlighten the public and expose the truth behind this black market.
Trade is the main and most detrimental threat. For most of the 20th century the continental black rhino was the most numerous of all rhino species. Around 1900 there were probably several hundred thousand living in Africa. 2011 the IUCN declared the Western black rhino extinct international commercial trade of the black rhino horn is prohibited since 1977, The only rhino that has recovered somewhat from the brink of extinction is the southern white whose numbers now are estimated around 14,500, up from fewer than 50 in the first decade of the 20th century.
With an aerial perspective, wildlife advocate and pilot Mike Kennedy brings you face-to-face with the world’s few remaining Black rhino’s, each struggling, with varying degrees of success, for their continued survival and shows viewers how the roll of aviation is critical in the recovery of the species survival.
The horn is also used in traditional Chinese medicine, and is said by herbalists to be able to revive comatose patients, facilitate exorcisms and various methods of detoxification, cure fevers, and aid male sexual stamina and fertility.
The effectiveness of use the of rhino horn in treating any illness has not been confirmed or even suggested by medical science.
Mike Kennedy is a aviator and certified zoologist dedicating his life to the preservation of animals. Mike and his wife Valerie run Dragon Ranch a non profit in Florida that tends to animals of all types. Mike has become a globally recognized aviator with his feature roll in the Discovery Channel series “Airplane Repo”.
This show starts with Mike reading the lab repost on his findings of the testing done on the horn. Camera cuts to Mike ordering Rhino horn over the internet as the camera cuts to a Asian buyer, purchasing the horns dust, in Viet Nam. Mike orders the horn online and when it arrives it is delivered to a chemical analysis lab, along with some ground up finger nails (human) for a comparison.
introducing views to his many “pets” at Dragon ranch, as he explains to viewers the perils faced by the South African Rhino. The camera “talks” with Mike as the crew travels to the South African Desert to witness the problem first hand.
“Rhino Wars” exposing the ugly truth behind the African Rhino Horn Trade.
Camera: Black Screen opens on google glasses view from Under Cover Vietnamese male in herbal store asking for Rhino horn:
- Audio voice as picture comes into focus, speaking in Vietnamese:
Sub titles – My grandfather is sick, and I need to get him some rhino horn, can you help
- Camera pans room of herbal store, and then back to the shopkeeper, money is exchanged and the plant exits the building to our waiting cameras. Looking at the camera he says in English: ”Rhino Horn” camera zooms into the contents. Package is marked and sealed for lab with each sample. 1a, 1b etc. Packages it up to send to lab. camera close up on shipping label to same lab.
Under cover gives a brief overview of his experience and the shop keepers attitude & thoughts on Rhino Horn.
- Repeat at 3 shops in Westminster CA and capture an on line order. Optional but important send in crew in Vietnam to film same situation and capture emotion and thoughts of medicine man.
Camera on “model’s trimming” fingernails into a container, container has time lapse over a month to show the clippings and the jar is sealed and marked as Container 2 Packages it up to send to lab. Camera close up on shipping label to same lab. Camera close up of model packaging nails and sealing the package then a close up of the shipping label and it is marked as Container number 3
Slide Show of carnage & narration by Rachael Renstera:
Rachael: Voice only:
“The belief that powdered rhino horn cured cancer is being blamed for surge in demand that has wiped out three species.
Because Vietnam Thinks It Cures Cancer and Hangovers … The closest guess is a rumor that swept Vietnam in the mid-2000s that imbibing rhino horn powder had cured a Vietnamese politician’s cancer
Four main user groups have been identified in Viet Nam: the principal one being those who believe in rhino horn’s detoxification properties, especially following excessive intake of alcohol, rich food and “the good life”. Affluent users routinely grind up rhino horn and mix the powder with water or alcohol as a hangover-cure and general health tonic.
Horn is also used as a supposed cancer cure by terminally ill patients, who are sometimes deliberately targeted by rhino horn “touts” as part of a cynical marketing ploy to increase the profitability of the illicit trade.
“The surge in rhino horn demand from Viet Nam has nothing to do with meeting traditional medicine needs, it’s to supply a recreational drug to party goers or to con dying cancer patients out of their cash for a miracle rhino horn cure that will never happen, Vietnam took a huge step forward in the fight against wildlife trafficking in 2014, when the country’s Ministry of Health and the Traditional Medicine Association agreed to acknowledge that there is no evidence supporting the idea that rhino horn could cure cancer. Yet 3.5 percent of the population still feel that is has some value in medicine, and this documents will set the record once and for all so these amazing and majestic animals, have a chance at survival alongside humans, there only true predator.
Graphic still photos of dead and poached animals.
Rachael closes with: This animal cannot protect itself from humans and humans have an obligation to protect them. It is time that this myth be put to rest and the Rhino is allowed to live in peace.
Camera fades to black.
Camera: Mike Kennedy @ Dragon Ranch. Holding known rhino horn. Shaking his head in disgust.
“This is Drago Ranch and I am Mike Kennedy along with my wife and life partner Valerie. Welcome to Dragon Ranch. For X years I have been a zoologist and conservationist. I have rescued everything from crocks to cobras, and will continue to be an advocate for these animals as long as sociality continues to infringe on their space and try to make them pets.
Wild animals, to keep our global ecosystem alive, we need to assure these animals live in harmony with our ever evolving planet. Valerie and I work hard to do what we can for exotic animals that have been made pets or brought into this country for illicit reasons. (Walking around, cutting to snake room, and big cat pen quick cut tour of your home and a intro to your history..
Mike and Val, Ad lib – – – –
Cut to both
Mike: To say that we love animals is an understatement, and what people do for this, (holding up horn) is intolerable and its time the world learned about the truth.
Camera: Mike packages up a portion of known Rhino Horn to send to lab He takes horn of sample from it, puts it into package and camera close up on shipping label to same lab. Package is marked as Number 4 and camera provides a close up of shipping label addressed to same lab.
Cut to Paris Zoo stock footage from the Rhino attack.
Valerie: The most incredible thing that the world is not seeing are the brazen nature of these poachers whom will go to all incredible lights to keel these beautiful animals, for the horn. (Camera on Val)
When is the madness going to stop? Our last two trips we were fortunate enough to see and assist the people that as protecting the animals one at a time, but this method simply will not work. The lost population of this animal will never return and the time is now to educate people once and for all as the myth and the facts behind this slaughter of the African Rhino.
Camera cuts to lab, pans around interior of lab and Dr who runs the lab explains about collagen, lab coat, lab setting. Unopened packages on his desk. Each one labeled 1 to 4 all in Mason jars.
Dr: The rhino horn has no know genetic markers that differentiate it from ordinary fingernail clippings. Science has yet to find any aspect of chemical or genetic markers that would differentiate the Rhino Horn, or provide a medicinal purpose for anything.
I am Dr So and So and I have been a chemist for all my life, Harvard Cambridge Yale and Columbia school each have certified me as certifiable and that certification is enough to assure you that I am certified. (smile)
Lets see what we have, (doctor goes to get jars)
Camera to Mike, at airport getting in plane. Aviation is an important part of my life. I grew up as the son of a bush pilot and I love to fly. Today we are flying in a Lear 60, one of the most current and state of the art planes in the world. It is hard to imagine that in just a few days we will be flying, in the African outback chasing Rhino Poachers and exposing this in human and unnecessary murdering of the African Rhino in a airplane made of cloth.
At Airport, with crew.
This is it, from here it is a 24 hour trip to our destination in South Africa, (kid interrupts and askes for autograph) 3 years on Airplane Repo and nothing I did in that business has the impact, of what we are about to show you.
B Roll, loading gear boarding plane shaking people’s hands.
On the plane, in route:
The plane oddly enough is the single most critical tool today to prevent poaching, yet we are losing the battle. Now we are seeing rhino poachers being killed by rhino poacher killers for the horn so the cycle of death related to the “Illusion” just continues”
B rolls with Rachael doing a back ground and telling the back story of how the horn was used for thousands of year in Chinese and global medicine yet while China was able to almost eradicate its use, politicians in Vietnam touted its ability according to him to cure cancer.
This lead to a surge of the use and subsequently a total surge in the murder and poaching of this protected animal, we are going to expose the cold hard truth and we hope this will serve to educate the world and truly Save the Wild Rhino forever.
Camera cuts from Rachael to Lab, as lab techs number and prepare samples for testing,
Doctor: We have prepared each sample in the same manner. Each was ground is a medically sterilized environment and we have separated that for a number of tests. I am unaware of the contents actual origin and am simply testing them under the number that were placed upon them by the sender.
Camera rolls on Lab type stuff and ambient sound.
Back to plane, Mike and Val are waking up with the planes notice that we are about an hour from landing, mike looks at Val and crew and ask’ s are we ready.. A bunch of blank stars come back at him.
Crew unloads gear and get on road trip to destination:
Camera on Mike, in Car.
These are some of the people that we will be working with, Over the times that I have made this trip I have meet some truly amazing people that are ricking everything for these animals to protect that from a myth, it is remarkable to me.
As the lab prepares our samples let’s look at what it takes to truly save a rhino.
Cut to final 1st location on site. Everyone shakes off dust, and sets up camp.
Mike makes introductions to the people that are guiding us, and he takes viewer deeper into the airplanes we will be using, for the missions.
Using some of the B roll we look at the complexities of these plans and their proximity to parts fuel and qualified pilots willing to risk all to save this majestic animal’s.
Camera pulls back as Mike and Val assign the crew to each team. We are introduced again to the park rangers there weapons and personal stories, family kids notable captures of poachers.
Camera back at Lab:
Close ups of lab setting up a series of labeled samples in dishes or test tubes, centrifuge running gages preforming. Dr: The tests we are running represent the most state of the art tests on the planet today. We have started with X number of samples and this will provide a outright and unquestionable outcome if there is any magical or medicinal aspects of any of these samples.
Dr Shows the different make up of tests he plans to perform.
Camera cuts to Google Glasses shots from stores that would NOT provide the Rhino horn. (Creating balance to the show and its objective) and the undercover comes out and give a overview of why that shopkeeper was not a Rhino Horn seller.
Google glasses goes into a store in Ho Chi Men Vietnam. Buys rhino horn. Takes it to a lab in Thailand to run same results (customs would not let it in and I don’t want to risk it). After getting doctor to explain the benefits and medicinal properties he returns to crew and explains to camera post haste the experience and costs.
Rachael walking near, in a Rhino pen at Busch Gardens:
Just look at these animals, one of the largest land owners in Africa has announced that he is going to now market the Rhino Horns he removed from his stock to eliminate the poachers prize. This wealthy land owner could have a detrimental impact, but this placebo does not educate the world as to why this is going on.
Back with the camps in Africa, flying and chasing poachers. Heavy emphasis on airplanes roll in this process. Mike narrated and guides us through the African outback.
Ad lib as per situations packing, recap and highlights:
Mile and Val: No place on earth has the type of flora and fauna that Africa does. This is the history of mankind. Will mankind ultimately kill off these animals based upon a myth? Just think how sad that would be for future generations.
Back to lap, as results are coming up:
Dr. I see no markers in any of the tests that we have run. Test sample number X seems to be a chunk of rock, (whatever) and there others are all , well just collagen, the same stuff that all of our nails are made from.
It is totally impossible for these items to have any medicinal aspects or valuable properties, Mike (now at Lab) it is all just finger nail dust.
Mike looks at Camera, holding up his hand “Finger nail dust” Those brave and remarkable people we have just spent time with are in fact p0rotecting “Finger Nail Dust:”
Map of Vietnam on screen.
Rachael Renstera in Rhino pen: Dust, all of those people are working to save the animals from dust poachers. The ONLY way this will change in with education, that is what this documentary intends to do.
We have reached out the government of Vietnam and offered to make this show available in the hopes that the educational aspect will be not only accepted by the people but those people are able to gain some compassion for the destruction of life this myth is taking on mankind. No one else needs to lose a life over the unknown as we expose this myth, once and for all.
Camera back to lab and doctor explains to Mike Val and Rachael his findings.
Closes on a baby rhino, in Africa with its family, running around and the rangers watching with guns at the ready. Drone runs across the tree tops and pans to expose the African terrain.
AFRICAN BLACK RHINO – ESTIMATED PRODUCTION BUDGET
Shoot details. Full 4k shoot for cinema release 16x9 formatted in Pro Res RAW 29.96 or 60 fps 44hz stereo audio
Pre Production $8500.00
Description Production Days Suggestions Estimated Amount
TALENT/Exe Prod.: Mike and Valerie Kennedy – 13 $12,450.00+EP Fee
Producer/Drone Op W/ Various Equipment 13 http://www.mdifilms.com $8,450.00+EP
Director/DP/Camera Op W/ Various Equipment 13 http://cliffskelton.com/ $8,450.00
1st AD/Camera Op/Audio W/Various 13 $8,450.00
2ed AD/Camera Op/Audio W/ Various Equipment 13 $6,850.00
Misc Equipment Working budget for specific Cameras, Lighting, Camera Support, etc. as needed
14 $5,000.00 Misc Rentals Audio, Lenses, Additional Equipment, Etc.
14 $5,000.00 Production/Equip Insurance $1M Production Policy
14 $2,000.00 Data Storage & Backup Systems 10TB $1,500.00
Medical Prep Vaccinations, Med kit, etc. $1,500.00 Total Budget
WIP – Draft – Critical to the success of any Independent documentary is having a target and distribution system in place at the commencement of the project. MDI has industry relationship’s that cover this. Working with Phil Viardo as a Executive Producer, he pitches the project at Realscreen, in Washington DC in January of each year. At the current time Netflix will only consider new productions for consideration that are in 4k or higher resolution.
This event puts the project in the hands of industry buyers from major networks as well as the subscription based distribution networks for a pre sale negotiation.
As producers we have to decide how and where we plan to launch the project. The key here is having a quality product that is versatile and allows the project to assure a return and get the message across that the financial backers want to portray. While a film that is released at the Cann Film Festival can be created for under 200k, the costs to market it at the show to obtain the acclaim that reviews and film critics often can put the production on the big screen at major theater’s globally.
Next is the Sundance Film Festival, the major US festival that does cater to a international array of film critics. This event is going to require once again a large budget for marketing the film that normally can result in a major acclaim. This could be in the realm of 2 to 3 times the production budget itself.
At the current time Netflix will only consider new productions for consideration that are in 4k or higher resolution.
The Newport Beach Film Festival is in February of every year and would be a natural fit for the production crew as well as the critics, and offers the production a upscale location to showcase the final productions first run. (NBFF requires original unreleased productions).