This week on Full Frame: Why wildlife species are on the verge of extinction

Full Frame

Full Frame goes into the wild to bring new meaning to the old expression “Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!”

While wild animals are frequently revered as some of the world’s most fascinating – and feared – beings, they are defenseless victims when it comes to the inhumane, and often brutal, wildlife crimes that are being committed across the globe – often in the animal’s own natural habitats.

For example, in 2013, more than 36,000 elephants were killed for their tusks – which translates to one elephant dying every 15 minutes at the hands of relentless poachers. If it’s not put to an end, ivory poaching could force elephants into extinction by 2025.

Tune into Full Frame on CCTV America at 6:00 pm EDT on February 21, 2015. Or watch the live stream of the program here.

Realizing the threats that elephants and many other species face, more and more people are getting involved in efforts to protect animals and inform the public about the social injustices threatening many animals with extinction.

This week’s Full Frame turns its lens to the way human behavior is wiping out entire animal species. The show features interviews with pioneering animal rights advocates who are working tirelessly to secure the future of the world’s wildlife.

Kristin Davis: Fighting a Crisis

On HBO’s hit series Sex and the City, Kristin Davis played the role of Charlotte York Greenblatt, a naïvely optimistic romantic who venerates the old-fashioned notion that “love conquers all.” Davis’ humanitarian work off the big screen exemplifies that same notion.

As Oxfam Ambassador to Africa, the Sex and the City star has worked tirelessly to help find solutions to global poverty and human rights issues that plague countries around the world.

But Davis doesn’t just help humans overcome social injustices – she works for animal rights, as well.

An animal-lover since childhood, Davis has had a lifelong love for elephants. She became a wildlife conservationist as an adult, and in 2009, she started working with the Davis Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, or DSWT, which is one of the most successful orphan-elephant rescue programs in the world.

As a patron of DSWT, Davis has established herself as one of the organization’s most acclaimed advocates, and she works fervently to raise awareness about wildlife protection programs and the harrowing injustices – particularly the illegal ivory trade – that brutally threaten the future of the elephant species.

In 2010, Davis won the United States Humane Society’s prestigious Wyler Award, which honors a celebrity or public figure who has advocated on behalf of animals.

In this episode of Full Frame, Davis sits down with Mike Walter to talk about the defining encounter she had with an abandoned elephant calf that sparked her involvement with DSWT and the launch of her new iWorry Campaign, which confronts the escalating perils of ivory poaching.

To learn more about her efforts, follow Davis on Twitter: @KristinDavis

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Grace Ge Gabriel: Ivory in China

As one of China’s leading animal welfare advocates, Grace Ge Gabriel has directed global campaigns to protect wildlife in Asia and around the world.

Gabriel began her career in the media, but after documenting the rescue of nine Asiatic black bears from bile extractors holding them captive in southern China, she gave up her career in television to work for organizations committed to wildlife rescue.

Today, she serves as the Regional Director of Asia for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, or IFAW. As a driving force behind IFAW China since its inception, Gabriel has worked fervently to reduce the commercial exploitation of wildlife, increase law enforcement against wildlife crimes, and change consumer attitudes about products from endangered animals.

Gabriel has testified before the European Union Commission and the UK Parliament Environmental Audit Committee on topics including global wildlife crime and protection.

As an instrumental champion for wildlife protection, Gabriel was also featured in Julie Scardina and Jeffrey Flocken’s book, Wildlife Heroes, 40 Leading Conservationists and the Animals They are Committed to Saving.

Gabriel joins Mike Walker to explain the detrimental impacts of ivory poaching on elephant populations and how her own experiences with IFAW China demonstrate the influence that consumer education and engagement can have on the future of illegal poaching and wildlife crimes.

Visit for more information about Gabriel’s work.

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Shambala Wildlife Preserve: Big Cats are Not Pets

In what ways can a human imprint ruin – and revive – wild animals? To find the answer, Full Frame ventures inside a prominent wildlife refuge here in the United States.

Legendary Hollywood icon Tippi Hendren and her then-husband, Noel Marshall, bought land in Soledad Canyon to house animals and use as the set of their film, Roar—a film that would feature wild cats as main characters.  After the movie’s production ended, Hedren stayed in Soledad Valley and renamed it Shambala Wildlife Preserve.

Today, Shambala Wildlife Preserve serves as a sanctuary for exotic animals, most of which have been confiscated from private owners who find that they cannot maintain and provide for the wild animals.

The name of the preserve comes from the old Sanskrit word “Shambala,” which means “A Meeting Place of Peace and Harmony for all Beings, Animal and Human.” True to its roots, Shambala Preserve has provided sanctuary to more than 235 exotic animals.

Chris Gallucci started as welder on the set of Roar, but his deep fascination with the film’s gigantic bull elephant, named Timbo, and the sudden resignation of the film’s elephant trainer motivated Gallucci to apply for the job – a decision that completely transformed the course of Gallucci’s life.

Today, Gallucci is recognized as the “real Elephant Man.” He is the Vice-President of Operations and Director of Shambala and spends his days nurturing the preserve’s animals and educating people about animal captivity.

Gallucci gives Full Frame an exclusive tour of the Shambala Wildlife Preserve and shares details from his experiences of providing exotic animals a second chance to live in the wild.

To learn more about Gallucci’s efforts, visit

Tippi Hedren

Lastly, Full Frame meets Tippi Hedren – the woman behind Shambala’s efforts.

Tippi 24In Hollywood, Hedren first garnered critical acclaim for her roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Marnie. In the 1960s, Hedren later starred in two films set in Africa, and her experiences sparked her passion for wildlife preservation.

After creating the film Roar, which captures the ferociousness of wild animals, Hedren turned the movie’s set into California’s Shambala Preserve, a sanctuary for exotic animals since 1983. She also started the Roar Foundation to manage and fund the preserve’s upkeep, which requires nearly $75,000 each month.

The actress-turned-activist works to educate the public about the dangers of the private ownership of wild animals. She has also introduced legislation, on the state and federal levels, which aims to criminalize the trade and breeding of exotic animals in the United States.

Hedren joins Mike Walker to discuss the lessons she’s learned from working with these stunning – but deadly – exotic animals and her relentless hopes for the future of wildlife.

For more information about Hedren’s work with exotic animals, visit

Tune into Full Frame on CCTV America at 6:00 pm EDT on February 21, 2015. Or watch the live stream of the program here.