Killing the Shepherd


A remote community in Africa, led by a woman chief, attempts to break the stranglehold of absolute poverty by waging a war on wildlife poaching. For decades illegal wildlife poaching by both subsistence and bush meat gangs has led to the government declaring this community’s homeland “depleted” of wildlife. The chief finds help in the form of a safari operator and they work together to bring stability to the community. But all was not well. Disease, food stability, and rampant alcoholism hamper basic needs like health care and education. Even young girls, just after reaching puberty, are sold by their parents as child brides in order to feed their family for one year. Dark forces including South African land speculators, criminal poaching gangs, and her own people conspire against the chief. Even elements from the modern world work against the chief’s wishes. Will the chief and her community see success?



Wildlife, across the world, face an unparalleled threat, the human population tsunami. Wildlife habitat is being destroyed to make way for human food production at an alarming rate. Without indigenous communities being incentivized by gaining positive benefits to conserve their wildlife, diversity of wildlife and entire populations of species may be lost forever. For more than three years, our cameras documented the trials and tribulations of this remote community and their struggle to lift themselves out of poverty. The story has major ups and huge downs, but in the end wildlife populations are rebounding. The people now have hope their future will be bright.


*Watch this film on the BZN App.*


Title: Killing the Shepherd
Genre: Documentary Feature
Length: 73 min.
Director: TA Opre
Country: United States