University of Michigan African Studies Center | Bilal Butt, Associate Professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability
"The Last Animals serves as an important pedagogical tool, along with the Michigan Sustainability Cases, to thinking more critically about the contextual terrain surrounding wildlife conservation efforts in much of sub-Saharan Africa. The documentary leaves us thinking more about the racialized nature of conservation in Africa today and about the question, for whom rhino and elephant are The Last Animals."
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) | Reviewed by Christopher Lewis, American University Library
"The film is compelling nevertheless and the narration style is effective. Though there are other films on these topics, there are none that capture the last days of the Northern White Rhinos so comprehensively. Recommended for all public and academic libraries."
Video Librarian ★★★
"A powerful documentary, this is recommended."
"With over 40,000 elephants disappearing each year, and the total Northern White Rhino population numbering five, the fear of extinction described here is justified. This eye-opening program explores the role of the ivory trade in the decimation of rhinos and elephants by poachers, terrorists, and criminal networks. Filmmakers move from markets in Vietnam to a rhino orphanage in Kenya to a zoo in San Diego to interview the scientists, animal advocates, politicians, and military officials trying to stop the killings. Interviews are captioned in English. By collecting DNA from animals in Africa and comparing it to that in confiscated ivory tusks, scientists are able to track and intercept shipments. Advocates try to pass 'No Ivory' bans to limit the demand of the product with limited results, and Congolese soldiers risk their lives to protect the remaining rhinos and elephants. The slaughter of the animals is difficult to watch, but the urgency of the message is compelling."
"An urgent and beautifully shot film about the world’s largest land mammals and the people fighting to prevent their extinction ... 'The Last Animals' is an ode to the 'unsung heroes' who every day risk, and frequently lose, their lives protecting animals."
WildAid | John Baker, Chief Program Officer
“I have seen a bunch of these films and from a filmmaking point of view, The Last Animals is the best of the bunch. I like how [Brooks] connected, at the beginning of the film, the buying of products in northern Vietnam and then followed the thread all the way back, featuring the rangers in Garamba and the rhino efforts in Ol Pejeta [Conservancy in Kenya], getting the whole story of the northern white rhino and then going into the demand side and the fact that there was progress being made in Asia on reducing demand.”
Screen Daily | Fionnuala Halligan, Chief Film Critic
"What distinguishes The Last Animals from other films on the subject ... is the raw urgency of Brooks’ direct conflict reportage: she is a war correspondent who lets us understand that what is happening here is nothing short of an all-out battle. This investigative mission, coupled with her painterly eye, elevates this doc – for the most part – into something filmic, often elegiac, and hopefully galvanising."
Jezebel | Ellie Shechet
"The Last Animals is an ambitious, agonizing documentary that weaves the plight of the dwindling Northern Whites into the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade and its connection to international trafficking organizations and armed groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army and the SPLA."
The Seattle Times
"University of Washington research professor Samuel K. Wasser provides key commentary for 'The Last Animals,' a frightening, nearly hopeless doomsday documentary about the extinction of elephants and rhinos that once thrived in Africa. Writer-director Kate Brooks focuses on the damage done by poaching, both officially approved and otherwise, with some of the profits financing terrorist groups. Testimonials cover a wide range, including England’s Prince William who helps to bring it all into perspective."
Bozeman Doc Series Review | Jason Burlage
"An evocative, informative and hard-hitting film, The Last Animals is a dense mixture of observational and, at times, undercover footage, interviews, informational graphics, and news clips. The film packs a great deal into its one hour and thirty-two minutes. Brooks’ background in photography and war zones is evident in the beautiful and often visceral on-the-ground cinematography in Africa. We follow rangers, biologists, scientists and researchers as they do all they can to keep the remaining elephants and Northern White rhinos alive."
New Statesman | India Bourke
"Brooks' film is a brutally direct examination of the rise of the modern poaching crisis, from the international poaching and trafficking syndicates who run the illegal trade, to the park rangers who risk their lives to stop them."