Timeless Traveller – The Horseshoe Crab

Description:

“Driving along the Indian coastline in August 1996, we stumbled into the little known habitat of the Indian Horseshoe Crab. Fascinated by this creature, we decided to delve into its story and the film “The Living Fossil” took form.”

The film Timeless Traveller – The Horseshoe Crab is a film about what some consider to be the world’s most spectacular scientific breakthrough that could rewrite the pages of medical history. It is an appeal for the conservation of a unique species and aims to achieve a widespread public awareness and appreciation of Horseshoe Crabs throughout India and the world. The horseshoe crab has demonstrated its evolutionary uniqueness by its persistence through geological time but of the four known species of Horseshoe Crab only two survive today. These extant species of horseshoe crab are subject to growing threats: Over harvest is a concern in North America but this is being managed, and in India, habitat loss and awareness of the species is a major concern. Once prolific on the eastern coast of India, today it survives only in a small pocket near Balasore, Orissa, where developmental activities threaten its existence.

Human populations are altering the landscape in ways that horseshoe crab, as species, have not experienced. In the long run, habitat loss and alteration could be a threat that even horseshoe crabs cannot adapt to. To protect this unique species we need to protect with immediate effect its breeding grounds. The horseshoe crab has proven its high value to human health as a model for vision research and as an abundant source of highly active biopharmaceutical and immunological products as evidenced by amebocyte lysate and related compounds. Scientific research on the Horseshoe Crab has shown that we are potentially on the verge of a medical breakthrough in finding a cure for AIDS, Cardio Vascular diseases and Diabetes. Research on the horseshoe crab has recently been stopped in our scientific laboratories for unknown reasons. We have to ensure that this research continues. It is time for intensive research and conservation and for the government to convene and develop an international program for the conservation of horseshoe crabs.

Aims of the film:

  1. Ensure that research continues in our scientific laboratories.
  2. Protect with immediate effect the breeding grounds of the Horseshoe
    Crab. This will result in protection of the species.
  3. The Horseshoe Crab should be protected under the Wildlife Protection
    Act, before it is too late.
  4. Setting up of a Marine National park off the coast of Gujarat may be
    considered to enable Eco-tourism and a sustainable source of income for
    the fishermen along the Gujarat coastline.

Positive results:

The goal of such a program for the conservation of horseshoe crab should be to understand the basic evolution and ecology of all extant species, to ensure its persistence in human-altered ecosystems, and to achieve a widespread public awareness and appreciation of the horseshoe crabs throughout India and the world.
There is little doubt that the horseshoe crab will continue to provide important insights as long as mankind can ensure the conservation of this fascinating creature. Potentially, this creature could save mankind, but can mankind save it?
Following persistent efforts after the release and promotion of the film, the horseshoe crabs of India, believed to be the oldest living being on earth (reportedly older than the dinosaurs), have been placed on Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act, meaning that they can be used for research but cannot be killed or poached by anyone including private collectors, under Indian law. The crab has been considered important to humanity as scientists want to know how it has survived for millions of years… It appears the horseshoe crab is in safe hands, for now!

Other Achievements:

  • Swaran Kamal National Award for Producer & Director
    Category – Best Science Film
  • Getting to know and Protecting Wildlife Award at the International Wildlife Film Festival – Festival International Du Film Animalier d’Albert in France, March 2005.
  • Getting to know and Protecting Water Life Award at the International Wildlife Film Festival – Festival International Du Film Animalier d’Albert in France, March 2005.
  • Vatavaran 2003, Silver Tree Award in the Documentary Promoting Wildlife Category
  • Vatavaran 2003, Best Documentary in the Revelations Category

Contact/Links:

Film-makers: Gautam Pandey, Arjun Pandey and Doel Trivedy Address: C-18, Chirag Enclave, New Delhi – 110048, India
Phone: +91 11 26410684/26216508 Fax: +91 11 26216508
Websites: www.mikepandey.org & http://www.riverbankstudios.com/doc_timeless_traveller.htm
Email: wildlife@vsnl.com or info@riverbankstudios.com
See the film trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GhbPXpxDOE&feature=colike
Earth Matters Foundation: www.earthmattersfoundation.org

Articles:

Thanks to Mike, horseshoe crab may find a safe haven: http://www.mikepandey.org/ar_06.htm
Mike Pandey documentary has wildlife species protected: http://www.indiantelevision.com/aac/y2k9/aac833.php
Horseshoe crab: MoEF promises prompt action: http://www.indianexpress.com/oldStory/84711/
Non-Profit DVD Availability:
Contact the filmmaker with any requests.
By Jason Peters

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