Animal awareness takes on a cinematic edge with a double feature of films celebrating cats and dogs. And we mean so very big cats and some very well trained dogs.

Jacob Calle has studied zoology and is a certified animal behaviorist through the University of Melbourne. Currently Calle is working on his own film about animal conservation that will be lensed in Africa.

Calle will present two excellent films Tuesday, December 15 at Brasil Café starting at 6 pm. The two films are White God (6:15) and Roar (8:30). Calle and his producer Cecelia Norman will also conduct a Q&A “on their upcoming African wildlife movie.”

In an emailed statement Calle explained his mission thusly:

“In 1992, a rather large hooved animal called a Saola was discovered in Vietnam and it was noted as one of the greatest zoological discoveries of the 20th century. Today, there are only 200 left. With an estimation of 150-200 species going extinct every day from the animal and plant Kingdom, imagine all the flora and fauna that was never discovered because it already has vanished. The “Sirbeth toad”, the “Clover-tailed Paradigalla”, or “Mizejewski’s water shrew”. These animals do not exist. What if they did? Waiting to be named. Waiting to be discovered.

From the Ordovician to the Tertiary extinction we are are now seeing the 6th mass extinction, the Holocene extinction, but what are we doing about it as ⅓ of the world’s species are nearing extinction? Species are being exploited by humans by over harvesting them which are being used for commercial harvest rather than sustainable hunting. I want to document this transitional time on our planet by traveling to Africa to create a movie that will address distinct threats and navigate political boundaries in hopes to create understanding of why these species are going extinct.

My name is Jacob Calle, from Houston, Texas. With an Australian conservation documentary under my belt, I am taking my company, ZooLab Films to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to tell the story of endangered animals. We could not make this movie at a more important time in human history for conservation.

Sadly, the United States of America is the second largest importer of ivory. U.S. laws allow residents to import ivory items that are certified as antiques, but this is where the problem occurs. These antique certificates are at times counterfeited and created only to allow domestic importation of ivory. With 96 elephants being killed daily for their ivory, it is nearly impossible to find truly antique ivory and certainly not at the rate of import. Our film crew will travel to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya, where we will discuss this issue and the plight of these mammals and ways that the D.S.W.T. protects them.white-god

From hand feeding wild hyenas, bungee jumping into the Nile River, and swimming with hippos, and close encounters with gorillas and lions this will be a film full of adventures that will leave viewers at the edge of their seat all while reminding the world that habitat loss, poaching, land being encroached are some of the issues and will be further investigated in the film while interviewing doctors, researchers, and rangers from the Jane Goodall Institute, Gorilla Doctors, the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program, and Ol Pejeta Conservancy which is where the final three Northern white rhinos remain. Traveling to each organization we will also trek animals in the wild native to that region and discuss their biological history and conservation. This film will help educate the world how we can all join forces and by alternating your daily lives and purchases we can all make a difference and have these animals proceed into the future.

Arriving in Kenya in the beginning of March, we will travel by jeep the distance of 7,500 miles. That is equivalent to traveling across the United States from coast to coast three times. Sleeping in our jeep, tents, and lodging (if we’re lucky) this film will show Africa for what it truly is and also what it will be if we don’t take action. We all have the potential to do something about it. We really do, but will we? Never before has been a better time to make a difference and make an impact on improving this planet.

Along the Gulf of Mexico the brown pelican nearly went extinct. The pelican mothers would continue to crush the eggs for the shells were thin from a pesticide called DDT, which was found in their food. The Endangered Species Act increased pesticide regulations and now these large brown seabirds can be seen all through the coast. These animals are here because action was taken. We see these animals today because we did something about it and with this film it will show the importance of what can be done to help not only the animals of Africa but animals from all over the world. Allow this movie to be the beacon for wildlife because if you don’t then imagine a world without animals. It’s rather difficult to try right? In words of John Lennon, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will live as one.”

For more information and how you can help contribute or be a sponsor to ZooLab Films log onto: www.gofundme.com/africanexpedition

— Michael Bergeron