PRESS STATEMENT BY EMMANUEL DE MERODE, DIRECTOR OF VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK
On 15th April, I was fired upon by 3 gunmen on the road from Goma returning back to Rumangabo. I am now recovering with my family.
Unfortunately the attack is not an uncommon incident for Virunga National Park. Our rangers are targeted frequently due to their difficult work in protecting the park and it’s many valuable resources. They continue to face such risks to restore peace and the rule of law to the area and the people in their care.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Congolese armed forces and members of the public who helped me at the scene of the attack to reach the hospital.
I would also like to thank the surgeons and medical staff from Heal Africa and the UN surgeons who operated on me at such short notice. These people collectively saved my life.
I have been made aware that a full investigation is now underway by the appropriate legal authorities and I have confidence in the process that’s been initiated by the Congolese authorities.
For my part I have no indication as to who may have engineered this attack and would respectfully ask that others refrain from speculation prior to the findings of the enquiry.
I hope to recover very soon I am looking forward to getting back to my work with renewed vigour.
I am deeply thankful for the outpouring of support I have received both from within Congo and internationally and I hope this can be extended to the overwhelming number of Congolese public servants and their families who suffer injuries or sometimes death in the line of duty.
Emmanuel de Merode, chief warden of Virunga National Park, hikes in the Bukima sector of the park on November 24, 2008
By Jack Kahorha in Goma, DRC ~ One day after the top ranger at Africa’s oldest national park was shot in a roadside ambush, details of the attack and the possible motives behind it are emerging.
Emmanuel de Merode, 43, chief warden of Virunga National Park and a member of the Belgian royal family, was shot in the stomach and legs as he drove in a remote area outside the park, which is located along the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He is in stable condition in a Goma hospital, awaiting transfer to Kenya for further treatment. (Related: “Chief Warden Shot in Africa’s Oldest Park.”)
“[He] will be evacuated from Goma within 72 hours,” said Tuver Wundi, a local environmental activist, after visiting the wounded park warden on Thursday. A de Merode family member said that the bullets broke ribs and perforated a lung but missed other vital organs. “He needs stabilization before he is taken abroad,” Wundi said.
The new hydropower plant, which draws water from Virunga National Park, will provide much-needed electricity for local people and industry.
Photograph by Brent Stirton, Getty Images
De Merode grew up in eastern Africa and trained as an anthropologist. “I came to Congo as a young researcher in 1993,” he told National Geographic in 2008. “Since then, I have dedicated my efforts to working with those involved in rebuilding Congo’s national parks.”
He began working in Virunga, Africa’s oldest national park, which was founded in 1925 and covers an area of forest and savanna roughly the size of Israel. It is one of the world’s most biologically diverse parks, holding 50 percent of the African continent’s species.
De Merode arrived in 2001, at the height of the second Congolese civil war. Four years later, with his father-in-law Richard Leakey, he co-founded WildlifeDirect, a conservation group that supports wildlife rangers in remote and dangerous areas.
In 2008, the Congolese government asked him to take over leadership of Virunga’s ranger corps. It was a particularly dire moment. The previous warden had been arrested for trafficking in charcoal and was also charged with plotting the killing of several of the park’s rare mountain gorillas.
De Merode decided that although sporadic fighting between CNDP and the Congolese government forces continued, he needed to move his headquarters from the relative safety of Goma to Rumangabo to closely monitor the situation in the park.
His first major success came in convincing the rebels and other armed groups to leave the gorillas alone, which earned him a reputation as a gifted negotiator attuned to the complex interests of the numerous parties living in and around the vast park.
Eventually, his men were able to retake control of the park. “The incredible dedication of Virunga’s rangers at a time when they were getting virtually no support,” de Merode said in describing that time, “shaped the future of my working life.”
Emmanuel de Merode speaks about the dangers of protecting Virunga in 2008.
Risking His Life for Wildlife
His life nearly ended around 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday as he drove alone in his Land Rover in Rwaza, an isolated section of bush about 18 miles (30 kilometers) north of Goma, on his way to Rumangabo station, a military base not far from the Virunga National Park headquarters.
Unknown assailants ambushed his vehicle, firing five bullets and hitting de Merode three times on his right side. A passing motorcyclist picked him up and took him to Congolese National Army soldiers stationed nearby, who then transported him to Heal Africa hospital in Goma around 6:00 p.m.
The incident marks the latest in long string of attacks on Virunga rangers. Since 2004, a total of 150 of the park’s 680 rangers have been killed in the line of duty, including one last January.
It was no accident that de Merode was traveling alone. He was acutely aware of the threats he and his fellow rangers faced and did not want to endanger his staff any more than they already were. “In practice, living in Congo is a question of understanding where the threats come from,” de Merode said, “seeing it coming before it hits you.”
He may not have seen this one coming. “It was a well-planned attempt,” said a Goma resident who asked not to be identified. “There are two FARDC [Congolese National Army] positions near the place de Merode was shot,” the activist said. “After he was shot, he managed to get out of his car and lie down while the vehicle continued moving. A motorcyclist who crossed after the incident took him while seriously bleeding to the next FARDC position.”
Virunga rangers patrol the Semliki River looking for animal snares and illegal fishing and charcoal production.
Photograph by Brent Stirton, Getty Images
Long List of Enemies
Although de Merode has been widely praised for his efforts to secure the park and improve the living conditions and economic opportunities for people living around the park, some in Virunga have been unhappy with his rigorous efforts to stop poaching, enforce the ban on charcoal production, and push forward other conservation initiatives. The list of those who might have wanted de Merode killed is lengthy.
On Wednesday Julien Paluku Kahongya, governor of North Kivu Province where Virunga is located, denounced the attack and noted, “Enemies of North Kivu wanted to discourage the project of the 12 Megawatt under construction in Rutshuru.”
The 12 Megawatt project is a hydropower plant under construction on the Rutshuru River. Funded by the European Union, the Howard Buffett Foundation, and other donors, the plant is expected to provide renewable energy to the communities surrounding Virunga.
In addition to green electricity, the Buffett Foundation expects the plant to generate some $10 million a year in revenues, which will be used to fund the park’s protection for the next 75 years, and to spur the creation of as many as 10,000 jobs for locals.
Environmental groups hail the project as a green alternative to exploiting the park’s recently discovered oil reserves. And yet—over the objections of many local communities, the British government, and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee—the London-based oil company Soco International PLC has obtained permission from the Congolese government to conduct seismic testing in Virunga, including in Lake Edward, which some 50,000 people rely on for drinking water and fishing.
De Merode has publicly opposed all oil exploration in the park. The BBC has reported that several diplomatic sources said de Merode had met with a state prosecutor in Goma before he was shot, apparently to deliver sensitive information about oil exploration at Virunga.
National Geographic asked the prosecutor’s office to describe the complaint de Merode is said to have filed against the oil company, but at press time representatives from the office had not responded.
Meanwhile, in New York a new documentary titled Virunga premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday night. It depicts the many issues facing the park and the difficult plight of its rangers. The Associated Press reported that the film includes a scene, purported to have been shot by hidden camera, that shows local Soco supporters attempting to bribe park workers to circumvent de Merode and saying, “He’s the one hindering the process.”
An orphaned lowland gorilla named Mapendo gets into bed with her caregiver, a ranger trained to care for orphan gorillas, in April 2008 in Goma.
Photograph by Brent Stirton, Getty Images
Soco has issued a statement condemning the attack and acknowledging “the deep respect held for Mr. De Merode internationally and within the DRC.” It went on to say: “Soco does not condone violence of any kind and makes it clear that any suggestion linking Soco to this crime is completely unfounded, defamatory and highly inappropriate.”
De Merode may have had disagreements with others as well. A staff member at a nongovernmental organization in nearby Nyiragongo who asked to remain anonymous told National Geographic two days before the attack he encountered a man who complained about de Merode.
“This man said de Merode took away his motorbike because it was carrying charcoal. He said he bought it, but he was accused of having got it from the national park. He said he will not make any effort to get it, but he is sure that God will punish [de Merode] on his behalf,” the NGO staffer said.
Illegal charcoal production in the park remains a highly destructive practice that, along with illegal logging, causes massive deforestation. Yet it is also a highly lucrative business, which de Merode once estimated is worth $35 million, largely because it remains the cooking fuel of choice for most inhabitants of the area.
At one time or another, all of the armed groups, including members of the Congolese army, have been involved in the charcoal trade, and de Merode has worked tirelessly to curb its practice inside Virunga.
Besides illicit charcoal, employment in the park was another hot button issue in which de Merode was embroiled.
Each year, he recruits new Virunga staffers, who are required to have graduated from secondary school and to pass a standardized test administered by park authorities. After the test was administered last month, some applicants from Nyiragongo, a community close to the place de Merode was attacked, called into Radio Pole FM to accuse him of bias.
“We passed the test, but no one of our territory was selected,” said one young man. “This does not mean that all of us are not clever enough to pass. De Merode simply hates Nyiragongo young people.”
Meanwhile, Governor Kahongya was skeptical the attackers would be caught. “It will be difficult to get the perpetrators since they came out of the bush, fired their weapons, and then retreated,” he said. “What is important is that de Merode is alive and his life is out of danger.”
Jack Kahorha is a journalist based in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
More than 200 conservationists representing over 40 zoos as well as wildlife programs in 36 countries have called on governments around the world to immediately increase the resources needed to combat the alarming rise in the illegal wildlife trade. Meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, earlier this month, zoo officials, scientists, and wildlife experts with the 9th Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation Conference (ZACC) agreed that urgent action is needed to combat the well-organized and heavily armed criminals who are draining the world’s ecosystems of wildlife and threatening human populations.
On the heels of the U.S. government’s recent announcement of $10 million to assist African countries with anti-poaching efforts to protect elephants, rhinos and other wildlife, the ZACC delegates urged all governments and international groups to launch sustained campaigns to stop the illegal killing of wildlife, including increased law enforcement with prompt and serious punishments for wildlife crime, more cooperation between governments to combat cross-border activity, and campaigns to raise awareness among consumers about the illegal wildlife trade.
ZACC delegates also noted that the wildlife trade was devastating imperiled species on several continents including the world’s most iconic species such as big cats and great apes, sharks and rays, countless birds, turtles and other reptiles, and lesser-known animals, such as pangolins and slow lorises. The trade is feeding demand for illegal traditional medicine, exotic pets, bushmeat, and other wildlife products such as ivory. In parts of the world, poaching and overexploitation have created the “empty forests” phenomenon where even small species such as bats, birds, and rodents have been wiped out.
The illegal wildlife trade is not a subsistence activity, but rather an industry based on organized crime worth multi billions of dollars annually. In addition to decimating animal populations worldwide and robbing current and future generations of their irreplaceable natural heritage, the illegal wildlife trade has been linked to organized criminal activities such as the illicit drug trade, weapons proliferation, and human trafficking. In many parts of the world, the illegal wildlife trade is generating money that funds terrorism.
QUOTES FROM ZACC DELEGATES
Dr. Anna Nekaris, professor of primate conservation at Oxford Brookes University and founder and director of the Little Fireface Project based in Indonesia stated, “The number of animals for sale in markets out scales their ability to reproduce. The illegal trade is a tragic waste of animal life and meets no human needs, and in fact undermines the future well-being of humankind.”
Julie Sherman, executive director of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, remarked, “The trade in African primates sold as pets, tourist attractions or bushmeat is decimating wild populations. This illegal trade threatens the survival of our closest relatives, chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos. Experts estimate 5-15 apes are killed by hunters for each one that is sold.”
Dr. Marc Ancrenaz of the NGO Hutan and the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program based in Malaysia commented that, “We are on the verge of losing the last representatives of the world’s iconic species such as rhinos, tigers and elephants. These animals have shared the planet with us since the dawn of humankind, and they are in danger of going extinct in the next 50 years. Stronger enforcement of existing laws and increased efforts on the ground are urgently needed to halt this tragedy.”
From John Lukas, president of the Okapi Conservation Project, Epulu, Democratic Republic of Congo, “The worldwide demand for elephant ivory has destabilized entire regions of D.R. Congo. The sale of illegal ivory funds armed militias that terrorize human and wildlife communities alike in pursuit of power and wealth.”
William Robichaud, coordinator of the Saola Working Group of the IUCN SSC Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group said, “Wildlife trade is the greatest immediate threat to wildlife in Asia today. Many threatened non-target species such as the saola, are caught up in the slaughter as by-catch. It is a quite catastrophe.”
Quyen Vu, founder and director of Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) stated, “The illegal wildlife trade has become a critical threat to global biodiversity. The demand for wildlife in the form of exotic pets, traditional medicine, and bushmeat is supported by a vast criminal network stretching around the globe linking poachers and consumers. It is time to unite globally to take urgent action before the magnificent diversity of the planet is lost along with its roots that are embedded within human cultures.”
· Rhino poaching, especially in southern Africa, is continuing to devastate populations. The International Rhino Foundation estimates that at least one rhino has been lost every 7 hours in South Africa this year so far.
· The last Vietnamese rhino was killed by poachers in 2009 and the western black rhino was declared extinct in 2011 largely due to the wildlife trade, sending two distinct subspecies to extinction.
· As many as 30,000 elephants are slaughtered by poachers annually for their ivory.
· Forest elephants have declined by 62 percent in the past ten years due to poaching.
· Tiger populations have declined by 95 percent over the past 100 years. Only 3,200 tigers remain with an estimated 1,000 females.
· Ninety-seven million sharks were cruelly captured and killed for their fins in 2010.
· 40,000-60,000 pangolins were killed in 2011 in Vietnam alone. Several Asian species have recently been classified as Endangered.
· Big cats, such as lions and leopards, are now being killed to replace tiger parts used in traditional Chinese medicine
Unfortunately, the increased instability caused by the current conflict has created a more favorable atmosphere for rebel groups, such as the FDLR, Mai Mai Nyatura, to increase their illegal tree cutting and charcoal making operations in Virunga National Park. These activities are one of their primary sources of funding, and as rangers, it is our job to stop them.
I have found far too many charcoal kilns during my years as a ranger
Early one morning last week, I set out with a team of 10 rangers to patrol the Kalengera, Kako, and Rubare sub-sectors of Virunga NP. We began our patrol at06:00 and after four hours of walking, we came upon five men making charcoal. As soon as they saw us they tried to flee, but we managed to arrest three of the five.We then continued the patrol toward Rubare and an hour later came up on seven men running a large charcoal operation. This time, not a single charcoal maker escaped arrest. After securing those arrested, my men and I set to destroying their kilns and their camp.
We arrived safely back to the Rumangabo station at 18:45 and took our prisoners to the Rumangabo prison where their identities were verified and tickets were given. These men were also given a strong reprimand and education about why they shouldn’t destroy Virunga and why they shouldn’t take work with the rebel groups. They had the next 48 hours in prison to think about it. As is most often the case, rebels hire or coerce local villagers to do the work of making and hauling charcoal while they hide out on the periphery. This is why breaking up charcoal operations can prove deadly for Virunga’s rangers. I can honestly say, though, we will not stop facing down those who seek to destroy Virunga until our last drop of blood is spilled.
Dian Fossey was born on January 16, 1932, in San Francisco, California. Trained as an occupational therapist, Fossey became interested in primates during a trip to Africa in 1963. She studied the gorillas of the Rwandan mountain forest for two decades before her unsolved murder occurred in 1985.
Fossey told her story in the book Gorillas in the Mist, later made into a film starring Sigourney Weaver. Fossey died on December 26, 1985,at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Primatologist and naturalist Dian Fossey was born on January 16, 1932, in San Francisco, California. Fossey enriched our understanding of gorillas through her intense study of these animals from the 1960s to 1980s. She was interested in animals from childhood, but changed college courses from pre-veterinary studies to occupational therapy.
Fossey moved to Louisville, Kentucky, to be director of the Kosair Crippled Children’s Hospital occupational therapy department in 1955. But she soon became restless and dreamed of traveling to Africa. On her first trip to Africa in 1963, Fossey met palaeontologists Mary and Louis Leakey, who encouraged her dream to live and work with mountain gorillas.
‘Gorillas in the Mist’
In 1966, Dian Fossey caught up with Louis Leakey at a lecture in Louisville, and he invited her to study the mountain gorillas in Africa. She accepted his offer and lived among the mountain gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo until civil war forced her to escape to Rwanda.
Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Foundation in 1967, alternating her time between her fieldwork there and obtaining a Ph.D. based on her research at Cambridge University. She earned her degree in 1976 and later accepted a visiting associate professorship at Cornell University. In 1983, her book, Gorillas in the Mist, was published and became a best seller. A film with the same name was also released in 1988 starring Sigourney Weaver as Fossey.
Death and Legacy
Considered the world’s leading authority on the physiology and behavior of mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey fought hard to protect these “gentle giants” from environmental and human hazards. She saw these animals as dignified, highly social creatures with individual personalities and strong family relationships. Her active conservationist stand to save these animals from game wardens, zoo poachers, and government officials who wanted to convert gorilla habitats to farmland caused her to fight for the gorillas not only via the media, but also by destroying poachers’ dogs and traps.
On December 26, 1985, Fossey was found hacked to death, presumably by poachers, in her Rwandan forest camp. No assailant has ever been found or prosecuted in her murder.
Opposition to poaching
While poaching had been illegal in the national park of the Virunga Volcanoes in Rwanda since the 1920s, the law was rarely enforced by park conservators, who were often bribed by poachers and paid a salary less than Fossey’s own African staff. On three occasions, Fossey wrote that she witnessed the aftermath of the capture of infant gorillas at the behest of the park conservators for zoos; since gorillas will fight to the death to protect their young, the kidnappings would often result in up to 10 adult gorillas’ deaths. Through the Digit Fund, Fossey financed patrols to destroy poachers’ traps in the Karisoke study area. In four months in 1979, the Fossey patrol consisting of four African staffers destroyed 987 poachers’ traps in the research area’s vicinity. The official Rwandan national park guards, consisting of 24 staffers, did not eradicate any poachers’ traps during the same period. In the eastern portion of the park not patrolled by Fossey, poachers virtually eradicated all the park’s elephants for ivory and killed more than a dozen gorillas.
Dr. Fossey helped in the arrest of several poachers, some of whom served or are serving long prison sentences.
In 1978, Fossey attempted to prevent the export of two young gorillas, Coco and Pucker, from Rwanda to the zoo in Cologne, Germany. During the capture of the infants at the behest of the Cologne Zoo and Rwandan park conservator, 20 adult gorillas had been killed. The infant gorillas were given to Fossey by the park conservator of the Virunga Volcanoes for treatment of injuries suffered during their capture and captivity. With considerable effort, she restored them to some approximation of health. Over Fossey’s objections, the gorillas were shipped to Cologne, where they lived nine years in captivity, both dying in the same month. She viewed the holding of animals in “prison” (zoos) for the entertainment of people as unethical.
While gorillas from fringe groups on the mountains that were not part of Fossey’s study had often been found poached five to ten at a time, and had spurred Fossey to conduct her own anti-poaching patrols, Fossey’s study groups had not been direct victims of poaching until Fossey’s favored gorilla Digit was killed in 1978. Later that year, the silverback of Digit’s Group 4, named for Fossey’s Uncle Bert, was shot in the heart while trying to save his son, Kweli, from being seized by poachers cooperating with the Rwandan park conservator. Kweli’s mother, Macho, was also killed in the raid, but Kweli was not captured due to Uncle Bert’s intervention; however, three-year-old Kweli died slowly and painfully of gangrene, from being brushed by a poacher’s bullet.
According to Fossey’s letters, ORTPN (the Rwandan national park system), the World Wildlife Fund, African Wildlife Foundation, Fauna Preservation Society, the Mountain Gorilla Project and some of her former students tried to wrest control of the Karisoke research center from her for the purpose of tourism, by portraying her as unstable. In her last two years, Fossey claims not to have lost any gorillas to poachers; however, the Mountain Gorilla Project, which was supposed to patrol the Mount Sabyinyo area, tried to cover up gorilla deaths caused by poaching and diseases transmitted through tourists. Nevertheless, these organizations received most of the public donations directed towards gorilla conservation.
The public often believed their money would go to Fossey, who was struggling to finance her anti-poaching and bushmeat hunting patrols, while organizations collecting in her name put it into tourism projects and as she put it “to pay the airfare of so-called conservationists who will never go on anti-poaching patrols in their life.” Fossey described the differing two philosophies as her own “active conservation” or the international conservation groups’ “theoretical conservation.”
Opposition to tourism
Dian Fossey strongly opposed tourism, as gorillas are very susceptible to diseases by humans like the flu for which they have no immunity. Dian Fossey reported several cases in which gorillas died because of diseases spread by tourists. She also viewed tourism as an interference into their natural wild behaviour. Fossey also criticised tourist programs, often paid for by international conservation organisations, for interfering with both her research and the peace of the mountain gorillas’ habitat.
I recently traveled to Kampala, Uganda as an invited Guest and Speaker at the Amakula International Film festival. While on the ground, I followed up on a much anticipated meeting arranged by my good friend Steve Jean, owner of Fenon Records.
We met with 3 awesome Voice actors for the New 3D characters I introduced in the rebuilding of the Galiwango film. Fenon provided a Classy studio with excellent sound quality and lighting. Here is a Video showing the process we went through. It was a hilarious recording with some serious Luganda Language, verbal gymnastics!!
Maurice Kirya is voice acting for Captain Muteesa, Cindy is voice acting for Reporter Peace Nantume, and Jackie is voice acting for Colonel Kasobeza’s wife.
It is was such a blessing that we were all able to meet at the same time at Fenon, schedules in Kampala can be crazy and quite a challenge to have 3 busy professionals all in one room.
Thanks so much to all for lending their voice talents to the Galiwango Film and the effort to raise awareness to the hard work done by the wildlife rangers, in the protection of the endangered mountain gorillas and their habitats.
The session also gave me an opportunity to test out my home Head mounted Camera Rig for the facial motion capture for the Galiwango Gorilla Character.
A special shout out to the Fenon team of Lawrence and Alex who worked behind the scenes to man the voice recording. You guys are awesome.
Here is my Home Made, extremely affordable Head Mounted Camera Rig Solution for Facial Performance Capture ~ This solution came as result of lacking the funds to purchase a professional Head Mounted Rig. Necessity is indeed the mother of Inventions.
This rig was created from the parts you see in this Image. Anyone can afford these I think Most of them can be substituted with parts easily found at Home Deport or Lowes.
So I decided to see if I could make my own from parts I could find by simply looking around the house. What you see here is a result of about 3 hours work of sketching, building and testing the Rig.
The foundation of the rig is a Bike Helmet which I borrowed from my wife. (Yap, Pink!!) and the rod which supports the camera is taken from my Guitar stand. The bracing is derived from my daughters hair twisties as she calls them, and they work pretty well in keeping the camera stable on the 2 prong mount. The 2 springs were in one of my tool bags, and I remember purchasing them from home depot.
I used my Smart Phone for the Camera. The phone is relatively light and has a fairly good built in camera. I was assured by the Faceware team that their software and pipeline can handle most videos of performance captures so I wasn’t worried too much about the quality.
What I had to consider though was the fact that the Video had to be fairly stable for decent analyzing by Faceware. I had planned on using my DSLR but after attending a Webinar on Head mounted camera rigs, I left convinced that head mounted cameras definitely offered an advantage over a standard capture because of the freedom they accord to an actor without changing the perspective. The camera is set and is always facing the actor regardless of the direction their head moves.
We had a great motion capture session at the Mixamo studios yesterday. Mixamo updated their hardware and software workflow which presented us with an opportunity to update the performance capture for all the characters in the Galiwango film. This was a tight schedule but we managed to squeeze in alot of the redos.
Mocap of the Poacher Sequence after clean up in Motionbuilder
Below is one of the videos recorded of the live motion capture shoot at the Mixamo Studios in San Francisco, CA.
Thanks again to the Mixamo Team (www.mixamo.com) for their great support and Partnership. A great thumbs up to the Main actor, Ross Travis, for his tireless and creative acting injection,. He took the time to study the mountain gorilla locomotion before coming to the shoot. Thanks Guys!!
The Galiwango Film Characters are undergoing an update in the Motion Capture department. I would like to thank Mixamo for their great support and awesome MOCAP team assistance in the reshooting of the motion capture performances to match the updated Gorilla and Human Characters.
We did a mocap shoot together back in 2010, with good results but since Mixamo has updated their workflow, both in Hardware and Software, Galiwango was extended a redo, and we couldn’t wait for the improvement in Quality.
The re-shoot will cover the updated mountain gorilla characters, the new Ranger and Poacher Characters, the News Reporter and some sequences of the battle scenes and convoy attacks.
Here is another sneak Peek at the New 3D Female, News Reporter Character introduced to the Galiwango film ~ Voice Acting by Cindy Sanyu (formerly of Blu3).
Reporter Peace Nantume is a 7 Year Ugandan Veteran voice from the front-lines on the Conservation Effort. She has dedicated herself to seeking out the Rangers and travelling as far as the Virunga Mountains, to report on the breaking news of the War against the Ranger Patrols and Game Reserves.
She reports on Behalf of TV Mutima, a TV and Radio Broadcasting Station dedicated to giving voice to the hard work done by the Rangers, their struggles and triumphs.
Here is the model prior to Texturing and lighting:
The Amakula International Film Festival has extended an invitation to me to Present the Galiwango, Animated Mountain Gorilla Conservation Film during the Festival that runs from November 22nd to the 24th, 2012.
The Galiwango Animated Short Film will be featured as one of the Short films selected from East Africa for the Golden Impala Award Nomination, which is a great honor.
The First Screening will take place during my Presentation on Thursday, November 22nd from 11:00am to 1:00pm. This segment will be featuring my insight into the creation of the Galiwango film, and a Question and Answer session.
The Second Screening will take place on the same day (Thursday, November 22nd) between 5:30pm and 6:30pm as part of a collection of Short films from East Africa selected by the Amakula Film Festival.
Here is a sneak Peek at the New characters introduced to the Galiwango film. These are Elite Rangers who work alongside Colonel Kazobeza during his years as a wildlife ranger. Each has an interesting past and plays a part in Colonel Kasobeza’s evolution and path to Redemption.
Private Mulefu ~ A rookie in the the Elite Ranks, has fresh ideas and boundless energy but little jungle experience.
Captain Mpulira ~ he has a hearing gift and can pick out the whistle of a high strung snare from a mile away.
Coporal Mumpi ~ a very dedicated warrior, but has a stigma of being short and under estimated, so he is always out to prove himself, hence his rapid rise through the promotion Ranks.
Major Matama ~ A strong leader and one not to be messed with. Brings to the table a wealth of experience tracking poachers and militias.