John M. Sellar, OBE (Former CITES Chief Enforcement Officer)

People often speak of the war on drugs and we now hear talk of a war on wildlife crime. The war against narcotic trafficking is bound to be a long one, with many battles along the way. Some species, like the tiger, is so close to extinction that we must, very soon, start winning battles against the people who are robbing nations of their natural resources or those magnificent creatures will be gone forever. After all, if we eventually win the war but lose tigers along the way, we will have achieved a very hollow victory.

Although I am formally retired, I still try to assist in my role as an anti-smuggling, fraud and organized crime consultant. I was more than happy to collaborate with the makers of GAMBLING ON EXTINCTION because I hope this documentary will help raise the profile of wildlife crime. It would be great if every Customs and Police Commissioner made time to watch the film.


Dr. Ronald Orenstein (Author, Zoologist & Wildlife Protection Specialist)

For the worst possible reasons, elephants and rhinoceroses are front page news today. They have become poster children for the worst excesses of organized wildlife crime. The present poaching crisis is the outcome of some 40 years of history, some of it acted out in nature and some, including my own work over the past twenty-five years, at international meetings where the rules that may decide the fate of both rhinos and elephants are fought over, seemingly endlessly.

Those of us who are struggling to save these embattled giants, in the field or in the meeting room, are joined in a battle against greed, poverty, corruption and war. We are fighting for living elephants, not carvings or jewelry (however beautiful), and living rhinoceroses, not medicines or cures (however fraudulent).

We are fighting, too, for human lives. Over the past ten years more than 700 rangers have been killed by poachers in Africa and Asia.

As long as organized criminal gangs and vicious, power-hungry militias are able to feed off the profits of the traffic in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn, people, as well as animals, will continue to be the victims of this evil trade.

We need to understand the true costs of the poaching crisis if we are to do something effective about it. It is my hope that GAMBLING ON EXTINCTION will help to carry that message, and to give this issue the global attention it needs and deserves.

Read Dr. Orenstein's Blog

Peter Knights, Executive Director, WILDAID

The poaching crisis that funds terrorism and civil wars will only end if the demand for endangered wildlife products is reduced. We must increase awareness of the poaching crisis in consuming countries, including China and Vietnam, and encourage government action to end legal trade and improve the enforcement of current bans. Our surveys have found a significant lack of awareness in China regarding poaching and a strong willingness to ban endangered wildlife sales once the facts are shared. When the buying stops, the killing can too.


NGO/Community Partners
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)

The Environmental Investigation Agency, was incredibly helpful in the making and promotion of our film. President and Cofounder of EIA, Allan Thornton, appeared in the film and the organization provided critical research resources. In March 2015, the film premiered at the DC Environmental Film Festival. EIA Senior Policy Advisor Lisa Handy participated in a moderated panel discussion with Q&A from the audience. 

READ: Enviro Film Festival’s Gambling on Extinction Drives Home the Atrocious Reality of Poaching

Gambling on Extinction is a powerful documentary that explores the complexities of the illegal trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn, from the African sources to Asian markets.

An investigative documentary, Gambling on Extinction shines a light on this devastating transnational crime, covering supply and demand, the involvement of criminal syndicates, and links to terrorism.

Read more on the EIA blog

International Fund for Animal Welfare

From the beginning, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has been a critical partner in the making of this film. We’re grateful for their ongoing support.

This important film sheds a light on a cruel business that usually operates in the dark. It is shocking and revealing and leaves you with no doubt that urgent and extremely strong measures need to be taken globally if we want this massacre to end.

As someone in the film says: “It is a war and we are losing it!”

Wildlife continues to need our help.

READ: IFAW Communications Officer, Dörte von der Reith on “Gambling on Extinction”

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Statements of Support