BBC Studios Natural History Unit is to make The Last Unicorn, a one hour documentary following the search to discover a previously unknown population of northern white rhinos, a species officially declared extinct in 2018.
The NHU will follow charity Saving the Survivors as they travel to South Sudan in the hope of discovering the animals.
Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two, says: “Natural World on BBC Two has always covered the most urgent and important stories in conservation and this project could not be more timely.”
Vianet Djenguet, wildlife cameraman, says: “I am extremely excited to be involved in this search for this majestic and beautiful species – if we succeed it gives us a second chance to save the northern white rhino, a win in the war against reckless poaching, and fresh hope for the people of South Sudan.”
Doug Hope, Executive Producer for BBC Studios Natural History Unit, says: “It is a long shot, there is no denying that, but there are rumours of them out there, and in a place that is so remote, so unexplored. Yet, from what our sources are telling us, it remains prime rhino habitat, so surely there is still a chance? And until this search is carried out we can’t close the book on the northern white rhino.”
South Sudan has seen conflict and civil war for the past 20 years and no film crew has been allowed access for nearly ten years. It is a country with no infrastructure, no permanent roads, no electricity, no power grid, no phone networks and no internet.
No access to wildlife NGOs means no survey or comprehensive search of any of South Sudan’s wildlife has been undertaken in over a decade but reports from local people suggest there could be an undiscovered population of northern white rhino.
A team of experts led by Paul Naden (expedition leader Saving the Survivors), accompanied by wildlife cameraman Vianet Djenguet, vet Johan Marais and high security expert Aldo Kane are heading into this vast and unknown world.
In addition to searching for the northern white rhino, the team from BBC Studios Natural History Unit will use camera traps and brand new drone technology which has never been used in the field before, which uses software to recognise different animals, to also film elephants, giraffe, leopards, honey badgers, antelope, warthogs and baboons.
The Last Unicorn, a 1×60’ for BBC Two, is made by BBC Studios Natural History Unit. It was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two and Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Science. The Executive Producer is Doug Hope.
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