From American Pie to the frontline in the battle to save the rhino

20 September 2019

From American Pie to the frontline in the battle to save the rhino

It’s an issue close to many of our hearts: the battle to save the African rhino and pull it back from the brink of extinction. Living in Africa, we may feel a special connection to these majestic beasts, but we aren’t alone in the fight: US actress Shannon Elizabeth is just one of many celebrity allies the rhinos have accrued.

Shannon is best known for her memorable role in the original American Pie film (she played exchange student Nadia in the 1999 hit), and playing Justice in the two Jay and Silent Bob films, the latest of which was released this year. But while acting pays the bills, saving animals of all shapes and sizes is her ultimate mission in life.

In an interview with Showmax, Shannon tells us why she’s so passionate, and why everyone who cares about wildlife and nature should watch Stroop: Journey into the Rhino Horn War, debuting on M-Net and Showmax simultaneously on Sunday, 22 September – World Rhino Day.

The Afrikaans version will be available on Showmax from 28 September.

What is Stroop all about?

Stroop is a groundbreaking documentary filmed over four years by two passionate women, Bonné de Bod and Susan Scott. The film goes deep into the issues around rhino poaching, from the economic problems that drive people to become poachers, to the black markets in Asia where rhino horn is ultimately traded. To accomplish this, the women both sold their homes and put their careers and lives on hold while they explored this issue.

The crew was regularly put in dangerous situations, confronted with criminals connected to cartels that, as they discovered, are also involved in the trafficking of drugs and even people.

Who is Shannon Elizabeth?

“Listening to the sounds of rhino babies got my heart.”

Why should people watch Stroop?

“I think Stroop does an incredible job of telling the story of the rhinos and what’s happening here on the ground.”

Who is responsible for rhino poaching?

On the filmmakers’ undercover investigations in Asia: “What they did was dangerous. The viewer might not realise how dangerous that is, but they could have been killed. If she was caught with the Go Pro on her body – easily never heard from again.”

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