Since its release, "Killing the Shepherd," the 2021 award-winning documentary film from Director Tom Opre, has resonated with a worldwide audience, connecting viewers with the positive relationship between animals and indigenous communities from the viewpoint of the Kingdom of Shikabeta of the Soli tribe in Zambia. Now, the Shepherds of Wildlife Society (SOWS) has released a special book to go deeper into the film and Opre’s experiences in documenting the community’s story.
In “Killing the Shepherd- Beyond the Film,” Opre narrates his experience as he and his team spent over three years documenting events in the Lower Luano with the community and the Norton family, third generation white Zambians. Opre outlines his personal experiences and how they inspired him to craft the storyline for the award-winning film. Throughout the pages, he shares how he developed the concept and worked to expand the narrative beyond just a tale of poaching and neglect to a story of resilience and recovery, which he witnessed firsthand on his trips.
The film has received wide recognition and reverence for its impact and importance in telling the story of the people of Shikabeta. The film has also been equally impactful on the growth of the Shepherds of Wildlife Society. More films are underway to help continue documenting the unique intertwined relationships wildlife and humans have, and to profile additional situations across the globe where humans, as the shepherds of wildlife, thrive with their local fauna. The film, and book, outline a long term path for African countries, rural communities, and other stakeholders that will ensure wildlife will remain on the landscape and provide for the human rights for the people.
As the founder of Shepherds of Wildlife Society, Opre views the nonprofit’s work as a unique opportunity to 1) share with people the stories and tales of conservation through a lens, a film, or a recorded conversation, and 2) position and challenge people to rethink human's connection to wildlife.
“Often we think of wildlife as a utility for human's use, but as my experience and this book explains, wildlife conservation is intertwined with humans' existence and ultimately when wildlife thrive, so can humans and entire villages,” commented Opre. “With 8 billion humans living on the planet, wildlife must provide a benefit and value to the rural communities who live with it, and that is something we tried to highlight in our products and through the other work of Shepherds of Wildlife Society.”
Currently the book “Killing the Shepherd- Beyond the Film” is available in digital (e-book) publication through Amazon. Pre-sale of hard cover, soft cover, and a future audiobook, recorded by Opre himself, is also available on the Shepherds of Wildlife Society’s store.