YOCHI FOR CONSERVATION EDUCATION
“Yochi” puts a human face on the global poaching crisis, specifically - the poaching of the critically endangered Yellow-Headed Parrots. The film has been recognized internationally as an innovative tool for conservation education. Tim Wright, renowned wildlife biologist who studies the behavior and conservation of wild parrots, says: “’Yochi’ is a story that people can relate to. It has such beautiful setting and beautiful characters. I think it really has the power to change people’s minds about the impact of the wildlife trade in ways that 100 scientific papers could never do.”
“Yochi” has been invited to over 50 film festivals, conferences, and educational screenings in the US and around the world – including the headquarters of US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oxford University, the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, and the 2018 DC Environmental Film Festival. It has been selected for inclusion in the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance Digital Toolkit. In 2017, it was selected by ShortsTV as one of ten films to be Oscar-qualified.
The filmmakers are currently working with the Wildlife Conservation Society, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies and NGOs, on initiatives to use "Yochi" in conservation education across Central America and the Caribbean. These include a proposed screening tour of “Yochi” in high-priority communities in Belize and Guatemala, at-risk of Yellow-Headed Parrot poaching and border wildlife trafficking. Since the film involves characters and situations that target audiences can relate to, it represents an effective tool for teaching protection ethics, facilitating dialogue, changing attitudes and behaviors, and decreasing poaching.
The idea for this upcoming tour was developed after a successful trial, in which the filmmakers screened “Yochi” in Orange Walk, Belmopan and San Ignacio, Belize after winning Best Short Film at the Belize International Film Festival. Co-sponsored by the Belize Film Commission, the screenings were attended by hundreds of people in town squares.