Klaserie River Sands

The real rhino story, no holds barred, and YOUR chance to make a real difference

Not many people would sell their homes and move back in with their parents to self-finance a wildlife documentary, while refusing funding offers from people who want the message to be watered down and made more palatable for certain interest groups.

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The STROOP team filming a rhino carcass in Kruger National Park. From left to right: Susan Scott, Bonné de Bod and Thapelo Danster ©Jeffrey Barbee

This is precisely what Bonné de Bod and Susan Scott have done, and STROOP – now in edit, with the final release due later this year – promises to be a rollercoaster ride for viewers. It will include footage from the killing fields of Kruger National Park, where they were given privileged access to sensitive scenes, to the courtrooms in bush frontier towns and dingy backrooms of Vietnamese wildlife traffickers, where the intrepid pair endured life-threatening encounters with some of this planet’s most evil individuals. Imagine walking into a room full of suspicious thugs and convincing them you are a film star looking for ivory and rhino horn jewellery – with a hidden camera strapped to your chest!

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Susan Scott attaches a hidden camera to Bonné de Bod for dangerous undercover work amongst wildlife traffickers

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Bonné de Bod talks to an antique dealer in Laos where photographs of rhino horn are displayed in a cabinet. In South-East Asia, this practice usually indicates that rhino horn can be purchased from the establishment ©Susan Scott

Along the way Bonné and Susan also met many passionate people who are making a real difference on the coalface, and a dignified lady with cancer who views rhino horn as her salvation. All this and more packed into what will no doubt be a watershed documentary for awareness about the rhino situation.

Bonné de Bod interviews a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor in Vietnam

Bonné de Bod interviews a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor in Vietnam ©Susan Scott

A Vietnamese cancer patient grounds rhino horn into powder

A Vietnamese cancer patient grounds rhino horn into powder ©Susan Scott

Susan Scott films from a helicopter with SANParks rangers

Susan Scott films from a helicopter with SANParks rangers

‘STROOP’ is Afrikaans for ‘poach’ or ‘strip bare’, and this video has Afrikaans audio with English subtitles. They also plan to have multiple language subtitles, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Zulu and Shangaan.

My one-hour meeting with these two brave filmmakers turned into four as they enthralled me with their stories and footage, and infused me with their focused passion. I left humbled and overflowing with a sense of hope; of respect. And I wanted to get involved, to help them achieve their mission of educating the world about the true rhino story, free from any commercial influence.

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Private rhino owner Yana Mockford with Bonné de Bod during feeding time for her rhinos on her farm ©Susan Scott

And so I paid $25 on their crowd-sourcing web page to receive a digital download of STROOP when it comes out – which I am so looking forward to – and I made a promise to myself to somehow convince you to do the same. Yes, you.

By paying for a digital download of STROOP, or donating a lesser amount, you help ensure that it is completed without editorial censorship by traditional broadcasters. Make no mistake, this will be a controversial documentary – and some interest groups may feel aggrieved when the truth is laid bare.

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Rhino horns, ivory and weapons seized during overnight poaching operations in Kruger National Park

PLEASE HELP Bonné and Susan complete this incredible journey.

Visit the STROOP website to read more, view a few video clips (not the juicy stuff) and to pay for your digital download.

 



Simon Espley

Simon Espley is an African of the digital tribe, a chartered accountant and CEO of Africa Geographic. His travels in Africa are in search of wilderness, real people with interesting stories and elusive birds. He lives in Cape Town with his wife Lizz and 2 Jack Russells, and when not travelling or working he will be on his mountain bike somewhere out there. His motto is "Live for now, have fun, be good, tread lightly and respect others. And embrace change". The views expressed in his posts are his own. Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

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