Elephant Refugees: Review

Elephant Refugees: Review

Elephants have been on the endangered species list for decades. Poachers, climate change and devasting droughts have seen their population in Africa dwindle and around sixty per cent now live in Botswana. There are varying rules around the protection of wildlife as well and one of those rules is that animals such as the elephants should be left alone, even if they are in danger. A worry especially as the laws around elephant hunting seem to change at the drop of a hat.

Elephant Refugees is a documentary directed by Louise Hogarth and narrated by Jerome Flynn which follows a human family who decided to move closer to the elephants so that they can protect them from a respectful distance.



However, although their presence keeps the poachers away, it does bring the tourists. Which means they must keep a steady balance between keeping the elephants safe and making a living.

As mentioned in the documentary, most tourists have no idea just how endangered the elephants are, so the family do their best to educate people on the reality of the beautiful creatures. Also, having elephants around them can often bring joy and sometimes a little mischief.

Showing a close-knit family of three generations, all of them have had to adapt to living around elephants from the grandparents of the family to the very small but courageous dogs. There seems to be a peaceful understanding between humans and animals though, and their relationship reminds them how much they may need each other.

As light-hearted as the documentary seems at times, it’s never too far away from its message and it sends it out with no holds barred in an unfiltered and honest way. There may not be much time left for elephants and it seems that little can be done even when a family decides to get so close.

Jerome Flynn provides a suitably soothing voice over in his narration and his passion for the animals comes through as it should do. However, the compassion of the family is what is truly unique in this situation and perhaps more knowledge and understanding from people like them may save the largest land animal in the world.


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Joel found out that he had a talent for absorbing film trivia at a young age. Ever since then he has probably watched more films than the average human being, not because he has no filter but because it’s one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and enriching experiences that a person can have. He also has a weak spot for bad sci-fi/horror movies because he is a huge geek and doesn’t care who knows it.