Video Shoots of Animal Kills: Truth or Fiction
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Video Shoots of Animal Kills: Truth or Fiction

Shooting videos in the African wild: what some of the motives are behind the film shoot

As I observe the videos of animal conflicts on You Tube, I like understanding the mindset of the person behind the post. Sometimes I find it atrocious. Sometimes I think that man tries to play the almighty although he does not so and sometimes the videos are done by amateurs that could just as well take a spa but curiosity got the best of them and they had to shoot a kill scene with all the gory details. Sometimes I think that there are some very good objective shoots and others have perhaps meant well but their perspective is unclear, comical, immature or something else. It gives one a chance to understand human behavior more regarding how we regard our animal cousins and what our motives are behind the filming.

First off, the aim is to capture death in the making and for ages man has been obsessed with this. So for the squeamish and faint of heart if one cannot stand to see an animal suffer do your best not to watch these struggles for survival. This is what animals do in the wild. As well one should not intervene in an animal struggle. It is debatable whether one finds an animal struggle ethical or not. The animals then encounter each other do not need to ask you whether ethics enter into the equation so who is one to decide whether the kill made sense or not. There are examples of human intervention, which on the surface feel justifiable but on second thought could be interpreted just as intervention. We interrupted a struggle and whether that is productive or not, who are we to judge. Because on the grand scale of things you will have abated one ‘useless killing’ yet nature has its own checks and balances that do not ask for human interference yet some men give themselves the right to do so. Such are my thoughts on a video shot of a struggle between a raptor and a venomous snake it had attacked. The snake defended itself by coiling around the birds neck but the bird prevented the strangle hold by sticking its talons in between. Now the bird was considered too large for the snake to want to swallow but who is making the judgment call the shale or the curious onlooker who intervened. The bird would have died anyway but that death was prevented by human interference and both annals were set free. Obviously the raptor misjudged its grasp and one can surmise there must be a small percentage of these so called ‘useless ‘deaths on the savannah that we cannot prevent. Should we?

There are scenes of animal wanderings and day to day living too which shed light on the animal habit more so than do those that just depict animal conflicts and the type of person doing this is more likely to be a professional rather than an amateur in my opinion. This is because of the already publicized views supported by our childhood memories of larger predators killing smaller beasts which peeks the curiosity of most. Besides the average tourist is not going to be setting up a tent on the savanna or be making repeat visits to a site as much as a trained biologist or naturalist would. Most frequenting tourists love to see survival struggles just as they would be content to watch violence in films.

One has to be as objective as possible I think when being true to life, so when filming in the wild there has to be respect between you the tourist or onlooker and the wild animals you are filming. This is their world you are filming. It is also world where gory does not exist so one should expect lions faces smeared in blood and nocturnal animals fighting over a kill. In essence many tourists do not expect to find what they do and what they report are events that are interesting to say the least.

When a mockumentary is made of an animal kill, personally that is of little interest but one can also see where human imaginations strives to make a difference and show another approach to the reported scenes which he has already witnessed. One can safely say that this is so because it is felt that these videos are in reaction to the classical kill scenes although who is to say that the person is not just creating the scene without any experience at all. So there are videos of stuffed animals attacking humans and the untrained eye may involuntarily see one of these videos thinking that he is going to see something in earnest.

There is another category of video maker who misinforms his public by saying such and such animals kill another when in fact it is not the case. Point in fact for some videos showing that the opposite occurs. One can also lump exaggerators into this group as there are those entitling their videos with phrases “lion attacked by tiger” when in actuality the lion enters into the tigers space and she scratches his muzzle. This is not actually an attack in the sense of having stalked the bigger beast. Perhaps the filmmaker is looking for a rise out of his captive audience. If he had just said the lioness defends her space he might not have had as many hits on his film. To me his notoriety will be short lived but he has made a name for himself anyway by twisting the truth and wasting your time.

Creating videos can be lucrative and so there are others who create them in such a way that the animals could almost be seen as fighting contestants and his video can be a total mock up of what actually occurs with the statistics of each animal being shown in the beginning of the shoot. Are these reenactments all true to life? Well according to the filmmaker they are, however some conflict outcomes, like ones depicting two large cats, are debatable.

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