Four Years Later, Milking the Rhino Continues to Inspire Environmental Action

David E. Simpson's nuanced tale of human-wildlife coexistence in post-colonial Africa, Milking the Rhino, enjoyed critical success after its initial release in 2008. The film took home awards at film festivals in Yosemite, Phoenix, Kansas City and elsewhere. But true to the Kartemquin's mission to promote positive change and community engagement, the real measure of Milking the Rhino's success is in its impact on everyday people.

The film, now available on iTunes and on DVD, inspired an environmental filmmaking competition called the Milking the Rhino Innovative Solutions Showcase. The competition invites student teams from around the world to create a 3-minute video that promotes a solution to a problem faced by the Maasai or Himba peoples regarding wildlife and natural resource management, conservation, and sustainability. As part of their communication methods and media class in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, three more students have earned accolades for contributing to the understanding of community-based conservation. More than 62 videos were submitted on topics including nutrition and sustainable development, and you can browse them on this YouTube playlist.

Elise Brown, Alex Gren and Nicole O'Block won the Best Use of Indigenous Knowledge award for their video outlining a solution to prevent the cattle disease nagana. Unique to Africa, nagana causes an estimated 3 million cattle deaths and $4 billion in lost production every year.

Milking the Rhino also continues to reach audiences around the world. The inaugural Angkor Wat Film Festival in Cambodia will feature the film February 19, and North Carolina State University's Roots and Shoots club will sponsor a free screening at the Campus Cinema in Raleigh, NC April 17.