The 50-minute documentary about the illegal dolphin hunt off the coast of Peru is gaining global attention. The secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival are organising a film showcase for World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2019, for which „A Feather to Kill“ is one of the finalists. All finalists will be included in the travel showcase and shown worldwide.
Dolphins and other small cetaceans have been strictly protected in Peru since 1997. However, local fishermen illegally keep harpooning mainly dusky dolphins for shark bait far off the coast and they hardly ever have to fear legal prosecution. The shark fishing in Peru is in breach of national law, too, because 95% of caught sharks are still juvenile. This brings the populations to the brink of extinction. Until recently, the public hardly knew anything about this major animal welfare and species conservation problem.
The harpoons used to kill the dolphins, called „pluma“ („feather“) in Peru, were banned in November 2016, but so far the Peruvian government failed to enforce this ban. Countless dolphins continue to fall victim to the deadly feathers.
The documentary „A Feather to Kill“, completed in early 2019, reveals this illegal practice. The film’s protagonist, biologist and environmental activist Stefan Austermühle, ventures an undercover research aboard a shark fishing boat and documents the cruel killing of dolphins whose meat is used to catch sharks. Austermühle’s mission in Peru is accompanied by Hardy Jones, founder of Blue Voice, who has made the protection of dolphins his life’s work. OceanCare has worked closely with all the involved and significantly contributed to the realisation of this documentary.
OceanCare is pleased that the film is now receiving international attention. In addition to the World Wildlife Day Showcase, the film will also be shown at the International Ocean Film Festival in San Francisco on 9 March, where the two directors, Hardy Jones and Uli Pförtner, are nominated for the Director’s Award. Sadly, Hardy Jones passed away at the end of 2018 after long illness. The well-known filmmaker, dolphin conservationist and founder of BlueVoice had worked tirelessly to make the public aware of the beauty and vulnerability of whales and dolphins, and was a courageous fighter who uncovered the threats posed by drive hunts and pollutants.
„A Feather to Kill is an important contribution impressively documenting a major animal welfare and species conservation problem and shaking up the public. Thanks to the nomination, the issue has gained worldwide attention, which is very valuable for our efforts to protect dolphins and sharks off Peru. The film is also a very special legacy and a tribute to Hardy Jones and his great efforts for dolphin conservation,“ says Fabienne McLellan, Head of International Cooperation at OceanCare.
The search for international film agents is currently underway so that the film can be made accessible to a wider audience.