WATCH: Joburg filmmaker’s rhino encounter is short‚ sweet and awesome


WATCH: Joburg filmmaker’s rhino encounter is short‚ sweet and awesome

Taschica Pillay | 2017-03-14 16:22:40.0

A video of a Johannesburg cinematographer gently touching a rhino during the filming of a documentary has gone viral.

Garth de Bruno Austin‚ 28‚ of Nelspruit‚ said he built a level of trust with the rhino‚ who he had been filming at a private sanctuary in South Africa‚ for over five years.

De Bruno’s 15-second video titled “Filming Up Close And Personal With A Rhino!” received over 200 000 views on YouTube and nearly four million views on Facebook – and has been shown on TV networks in England‚ Europe‚ Australia and America. “I did not approach this animal. It was completely her decision to let me come into her personal space and touch her. Once she had enough‚ she walked away and continued grazing‚” he said.

“After so many years of filming her‚ I’ve learnt to read her body language and respect her space‚ if it seems she isn’t in a happy mood then I move away. Unlike humans‚ animals will always let you know exactly how they feel; it’s just a matter of taking the time to really listen to what they are telling you.

“If you don’t listen to their body language because you are trying to get the “perfect shot‚” then you are not only putting yourself in unnecessary danger but you are also disrespecting that animals space.”

He said he would not recommend others getting close to a rhino that size‚ regardless of how friendly they may seem. “They are still wild animals and are incredibly powerful.”

 De Bruno Austin – who spends his time between Brisbane‚ Australia and South Africa – is currently filming a feature documentary called “Disunity” which looks at the debate between the pro-rhino horn trade or anti-trade groups and whether they can find common ground to move forward and save the rhino.

“Unfortunately it seems the only people working together are the criminal syndicates. The entire documentary was crowd-funded on Indiegogo and we have raised nearly US$70‚000 (R910 000) so far.”

He said in light of the recent attacks at a rhino orphanage in South Africa and the zoo in France‚ he did not want to disclose the location of the rhino. De Bruno Austin has worked on BBC shows shot in South Africa and TV shows in Australia. He has also filmed music videos for some well known Australian bands.

TMG Digital/The Times

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