Ambassador Godec’s Participation in The Last Animals Screening

Ambassador Godec’s Participation in The Last Animals Screening

Saturday, January 13, 2018

  • We are gathered in this beautiful location for an evening that will be – I won’t say enjoyable – moving and powerful might be more accurate.
  • I have not yet had the opportunity to watch The Last Animals, but from the reviews and from my brief but extraordinary conversation with its Director Kate Brooks early today I think I can promise you that. A moving, powerful, inspirational film.
  • I will allow the film to speak for itself, but before it begins, I think I would stress one thought.
  • What we here all share, I believe, is a sense of the wonder and magic of wildlife and the world around us. We also have a sense of the tragedy that is underway around the world.
  • A tragedy for the wildlife… the animals themselves as they are systematically decimated by poachers, by pressure for land, by development, by humanity.
  • A tragedy too often for rangers who may lose their lives in the fight to save animals. A tragedy for poachers, who are often desperate for a livelihood.
  • And a tragedy for humanity and for the planet. We are, all of us, deeply connected to nature… we are part of nature… and nature is part of us.  If we kill off all the wildlife… we will doom humanity too.
  • But there is hope too. This doesn’t have to happen.  Progress can happen, as it is in Kenya.  We can change the path we are on.  We can save the elephants, the rhinos, the giraffe, the environment.  In the process, we will save ourselves.
  • And that is what so many of you are working very hard to do. And I applaud you for it.  And the United States Government, my Embassy and the extraordinary team at the Embassy have been trying to help by supporting a wide range projects and efforts… current portfolio about $50 million.
  • But I’ve spoken long enough. Tonight is for this film and the story it tells.  It is a great privilege to be part of this inaugural showing.
  • Tonight’s presentation is not the work of a single organization; it is a partnership of organizations, all of which are interested in conserving the wildlife and natural resources that make up so much of the richness of Kenya.
  • Begin by thanking to Kate Brooks, who conceived and directed The Last Animals. Kate is an internationally renowned photojournalist who has done extraordinary work on conflict and human rights.
  • I am also delighted to join with Wildlife Direct and its director, Paula Kahumbu, as a co-host of tonight’s screening.
  • Many thanks as well to Kenya Forest Service and Friends of Karura Forest for hosting us here in this beautiful location tonight.
  • And much appreciation for our colleagues from Ol Pejeta, both for supporting Kate in the making of tonight’s film and for their tireless efforts to ensure the preservation of the remaining Northern White Rhinos.
  • Thank you to our partners and thank you for your interest in this important topic. I look forward to watching The Last Animals and to having the opportunity for a Q&A following the film to expand on some of the important themes highlighted there.