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Indonesia-based NGO Thrive Conservation, world renowned composer Ludovico Einaudi, and veteran conservation photojournalist Paul Hilton teamed up with WaterBear Network to premiere the powerful short film‘Broken Wings.’ The captivating film exposes the heartbreaking reality that tropical birds face when they are trafficked from their forest homes, only to be sold as pets that will live in a cage for the rest of their lives.
The film’s soundtrack is by composer Ludovico Einaudi and takes viewers on an emotional ride exposing the silencing of our forests. The film also highlights the consequences of bird poaching on biodiversity and the world’s ecosystems.
Globally, 49% of bird species are declining, and one in eight are threatened with extinction. Southeast Asia alone is home to over one-fifth of global bird species with large-scale wildlife trafficking being rife throughout the region, as a result of the global pet trade demand.
Being one of the most ubiquitous contemporary composers of the century and the highest-streamed classical pianist of all time, Ludovico Einaudi previously brought attentionto the protection of the Arctic Ocean. Now, Einaudi shares his platform to bring attention to the issue of wild bird trafficking.
“Music has the ability to transcend language barriers and connect with people on a deep emotional level, raising awareness on important issues and having a positive impact on the world. With nearly half of the world’s wild bird species in decline, and one in eight at risk of extinction, we must stop the trafficking of wild birds. Let’s leave them free, let’s keep them out of cages,” said Ludovico Einaudistated.
Thrive Conservation has compiled a report on the wild bird trade in Southeast Asia for viewers who want to learn more. They are working to protect birds in Indonesia, a country with more globally threatened bird species than anywhere else in the world. Attached to the film is Thrive’s “call to action” that urges audiences to stop caging wild birds and donate to the cause.
Every year millions of birds are taken out of their natural habitat, pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Although a huge global issue, few people are aware of the plight of wild birds due to the bird trade, and what this means, not only for Earth’s ecosystems, but also for humanity. Frontline conservation efforts do inspire hope for the future.
Birdwatching is one of the fastest growing sectors of wildlife tourism globally with an industry worth 5.2 times more than the illegal wildlife trade. This presents an amazing opportunity to divert Southeast Asia’s passion and pride from caging birds to celebrating them in the wild.
“The sheer number of birds owned by people around the world is a testament to humans’ innate love and fascination for these animals. But when that love drives the demise of wild populations, it threatens the very existence of these species and the ecosystems we rely on for our own survival. We are dedicated to shining a light on this issue and developing solutions to protect wild birds,” said Sarah Lewis, CEO & Founder of Thrive Conservation.
Paul Hiltonfirst brought the issue of bird poaching to the attention of the team at Studio Birthplace while they were filming a documentary in SouthEast Asia. Paul, whose striking images captured the immense suffering caused by the bird trade, is leading the effort to shed more light on the issue and to amplify the campaign further.
“If birds could cry! In 2023, we can order wildlife and wildlife products online, like any other consumable. They get stacked, packed, and even put in plastic bags. So convenient and replaceable. We are in a global bird crisis and it’s happening out of sight to most of the world,” said Paul Hilton.
The team at Studio Birthplace, helmed by directors Jorik Dozy and Sil van der Woerd, set out to capture the story of a single bird, from being captured in the wild, to ending up in a cage as a pet. The team conducted extensive on-the-ground research, followed a real bird poacher for several days, and filmed in three wildlife markets. The documentary was filmed over a period of 7 days. The birds that were poached while filming were released back into the wild at the end of the shoot.
Broken Wings is now available exclusively on the WaterBear Network, a new streaming platform that continues to tell stories from the front line of climate and social activism.
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