Netflix subscribers will be learning more about what’s happening to wildlife and the environment, thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio.
After producing Virunga in collaboration with Netflix, they are teaming up on a series of eco-documentaries.
Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is home to more than half the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas (remember the movie, Gorillas in the Mist?). The film shows how park rangers are caught in the crossfire of poachers, endless war, illegal logging and oil exploration as they attempt to protect gorillas in Africa’s oldest national park. It was nominated for an Oscar.
130 rangers have been killed protecting the park’s wildlife over the past 20 years.
A ranger with an orphaned gorilla:
Credit: Orlando von Einsiedel
Since the documentary was produced Soco International agreed to pull out of the park and the country announced it would embark on a "massive green development program" that will protect its forests through the sale of carbon credits. But oil has been discovered in the park and the government could open it at any time.
The park’s future is at a crossroads with a clear choice between oil exploitation, which would foster conflict and corruption, and peaceful development built around renewable energy and tourism, Emmanuel de Merode, director of Virunga, told The Guardian.
"Working with Netflix on Virunga has sparked a shared vision about projects that we want to develop and bring to viewers," says DiCaprio. "There’s never been a more critical time for our planet or more of a need for gifted storytellers to help us all make sense of the issues we face. Through this partnership with Netflix, I hope to give documentary filmmakers doing urgent and important work the chance to have their films seen immediately by audiences all around the world."
DiCaprio, a longtime, fervent environmental activist, also produced The 11th Hour, a documentary on climate change.