2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton surprised attendees at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday, making an appearance during Kathryn Bigelow and Imran Ismail’s virtual reality documentary The Protectors: A Walk in the Ranger’s Shoes panel. Clinton heaped praise on the National Geographic short, which follows rangers who hunt down elephant poachers.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the short documentary follows a day in the life of a ranger at the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The rangers hunt down heavily militarized poachers as they slaughter elephants for their ivory tusks. The Protectors was filmed and produced entirely in virtual reality, meaning viewers, including Hillary Clinton, can immersively experience the day to day life of rangers fighting on the front line of the ivory tusk trade.
“Thanks for seeing this remarkable film which brings to reality what we’re up against,” Clinton said following the documentary’s world premiere on Saturday. “There’s a lot that can be done to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand. … Part of that is protecting these rangers who are up against some of the most ruthless killers on the planet now. We need a better-equipped force, and African Parks and other organizations are on the front lines.”
During the panel, Clinton also reflected on her anti-poaching efforts whilst serving as secretary of state between 2009 and 2013.
“I’m proud we passed a near total ban of ivory and proud that the Chinese made a very important announcement last year on ivory [trade],” she continued. “Large mammals like elephants have a large role to play both in reality and in our imaginations. China had been the number one market, but the U.S. is the second biggest market for illegal ivory.”
The former first lady then urged panel attendees to donate to Outfit a Ranger, which the film supports. Donating can buy a ranger a better vest, decent shoes and generally give them a much better chance when out on the field, Clinton told attendees of the panel at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
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According to Deadline, Clinton also used her appearance on the panel as an opportunity to praise those attending the Science March, which took place earlier that day. Clinton said that marches taking place earlier in the day in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and other locations were important in the face of President Trump’s various environmental policies, including drastic funding reductions for the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“It is Earth Day and we are marching on behalf of science, and part of science is understanding the intricate relationships we share with those on this planet,” Clinton told attendees.
Since her surprise election defeat to Republican candidate Donald Trump last November, Clinton has made a number of surprise appearances in and around New York. According to CBS News, Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton have attended a number of Broadway shows since her loss in November, where the one-time Democratic presidential nominee has received consistent standing ovations. However, given Clinton secured 59.01 percent of the popular vote in New York during the 2016 election, her popularity is no surprise.
After a period of brief silence following her defeat last year, Clinton has been vocal in her criticism of the president since his inauguration, regularly tweeting her response to some of Donald Trump’s more controversial decisions that he’s made during his time in the White House.
[Featured Image by Monica Schipper/Getty Images]