The Asian elephant, constantly under threat from the poachers and a fast shrinking habitat faces a more serious threat today-one that comes from its custodians.
The brutal capture, torture and subsequent death of a young tusker in a capture operation authorised by the government prompted Mike Pandey to stop filming his documentary on ‘Elephants in Crisis’ and turn it into a news feature.
The footage exposed the cruel and archaic methods of capture being used with no concern for the animal, a protected and endangered species.
The news feature was a protest and demanded the immediate cessation of capture of elephants in this brutal way and a call for policy changes if elephants are to be protected.
Within 3 days of the release of this news feature the Government of India suspended all capture of wild elephants. Individuals in charge of the botched capture operation were suspended.
The news created international outrage – International news agencies picked it and activists from all over the world joined in triggering a global signature campaign by IFAW. www.ifaw.org/ifaw_international/index.php
In India changes in policies and rules were made at a national level ensuring that all future captures take place with modern facilities and in the presence of experts to avoid trauma and cruelty after capture. Elephant welfare became top priority.
Winner of the Panda News Award at Wildscreen 2004
Exec’ Producer/Cameraman/Narrator: Mike Pandey
Directed by: Ritambra Rana
Address: C-18, Chirag Enclave, New Delhi – 110048, India
Phone: +91 11 26410684/26216508 Fax: +91 11 26216508
Websites: www.mikepandey.org & www.riverbankstudios.com/doc_vanishing_giants.htm
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Earth Matters Foundation: www.earthmattersfoundation.org
Animal Welfare Director, Dave Neal, commissioned Environment Films to produce a short film about the use of animals in entertainment across China. Dave Neal had spent many arduous months filming at zoos and safari parks and had approximately 10 hours of harrowing footage. For the film to be widely watchable, a duration of ten minutes was decided on, making the selection process challenging.
To give the animals a voice, Environment Films wrote a script and invited supporter Terry Waite CBE to read. Aside from the script Terry Waite reflected on his own experiences of captivity in Beirut (1987-1991), drawing parallels to the imprisoned animals thus strengthening the film’s sentiment of compassion. Music by Moby was also secured for the film.
The Performance and accompanying press release was released via the Animals Asia Foundation and Environment Films websites. The response within the first hour was overwhelming, from the public, current supporters, journalists, television crews and radio stations – the phone rang off the hook!
CNN News ran part of the film that night and it featured in almost every UK broadsheet newspaper the following day. Dave Neal was invited onto further television stations and radio broadcasts to speak firsthand about the campaign and the work of the Animals Asia Foundation.
Within 5 days of the film’s release it had been viewed over 7,000 times on YouTube and the numbers continue to grow.
Thousands of people have been affected by the film and have shown support by sharing it via SNS.
The Performance has since been translated into numerous languages and continues to reach out to people worldwide.
Campaign film for the Animals Asia Foundation
Following the Animals Asia Foundation investigation and Environment Films’ film The Performance, the Chinese ministry responsible for zoos issued (on January 18th 2011) a complete ban on the use of animals in performances in zoos and circuses across China. Politics were changed.
The film has reached the hearts of many and helped further the message of animal welfare in general.
The Last Migration depicts a 42-day wild elephant capture operation in Madhya Pradesh, India.
Driven out of their home range in Bihar, due to excessive deforestation; a herd of wild elephants migrated to eastern Madhya Pradesh 300km away; where the sterile teak plantations, devoid of diversity, could not sustain the herd. Desperate for sustenance they went on a rampage and created havoc amidst the terrified tribals of the remote district of Sarguja – where elephants in the wild have been unheard of, for more than a century. Since 1988, 45 people had been killed by the herd and unabated devastation of their fields and homes left the villages bereft of their livelihood. The herd was finally captured in 1993.
The film portrays the man-animal conflict and its repercussions; the tussle between the ancient pachyderm and the tribals of the forest, which is a manifestation of a deeper and more vicious cycle; the disruption of the balance in Nature, on which rests the harmony of existence – the devastation of this critical framework, by mankind’s relentless and unsustainable obsession with power and development.
The Last Migration was a historic movement that led to a 3 year Detailed Project Report (DPR) on the status of elephants and their movements, carried out by Earth Matters Foundation and presented to the Indian government for a three pronged strategy to manage and contain the wild elephants, protect the tribal people and local communities and the setting up of an elephant Orphanage and rescue centre. The DPR was commissioned by the government.
The film was a wake up call right across India and internationally as it was the first actual depiction of man animal conflict over space being played out on the planet. The film also led to the removal of the term “rouge elephants” from use in government and local press, they are now referred to as “Problem elephants”. The film also raised grave concerns and brought to light the massive deforestation that was causing the elephants to come out in search of food and shelter.
The Last Migration led to the establishment of the Elephant Foundation – India
This film was the first Asian film to win the world’s most prestigious award – The Green Oscar – Panda Award at the Wildscreen, 1994. It subsequently went on to win seven other international awards.
“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:
Ensure that research continues in our scientific laboratories.
Protect with immediate effect the breeding grounds of the Horseshoe
Crab. This will result in protection of the species.
The Horseshoe Crab should be protected under the Wildlife Protection
Act, before it is too late.
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.
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!
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
See the film trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GhbPXpxDOE&feature=colike
Earth Matters Foundation: www.earthmattersfoundation.org
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
Oasis takes the viewer on a journey up the Esk Valley in southeast Scotland. The Esk Valley (actually two valleys – the North and South Esk – which converge) is a green corridor, which runs through the county of Midlothian. The Esk Rivers run through several different habitats from source to sea – upland moor, deciduous and conifer wood, arable farmland and grazing country, and rocky gorge. Although close to the capital city of Edinburgh, the Esk Valley is not well appreciated for its diversity of birdlife. During the journey we examine some of the less well-known species in the valley. Behaviour, songs and calls are all shown. The documentary begins with a description of the geography of the Esk Valley and opens with winter flocks (waxwings, starlings and finches). Further up the valley, in a steep gorge, ravens and peregrines are encountered and followed through the summer. Waterside birds such as kingfisher and dippers have made a remarkable recovery as water quality has improved. Other woodland species such as tawny owls woodpeckers, redstart and nuthatches are studied. Oasis closes by observing some of the passerines of the upland Esk watershed such as whinchat, redpoll and grasshopper warbler. Oasis was filmed in HDV using a Canon XL-H1A camera and some short sequences in AVCHD using a Canon EOS 7D SLR camera. Oasis (2011) is Neil Grubbs’ third wildlife film and is 27 minutes duration.
The objective of producing Oasis (and Outlands, the sequel which can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/64412415) was to provide a vehicle for increasing the awareness of the general public of the habitats and wildlife which exist in the Lothians and which are accessible. Above all Neil Grubb wanted to show local people that amazing wildlife can be seen without the medium of the blue chip documentaries. The results of this are illustrated by a letter of support from the Scottish Ornithologists Club, and from the large number of invitations Neil has received to speak (and in many cases return to speak) at local and national clubs and societies. In terms of positive results, the aim was to increase public awareness of local habitats and wildlife and to this end Oasis has succeeded in its’ objective. The films were never intended or budgeted to support a specific environmental project – indeed Oasis and Outlands can be regarded as micro-budget films, which have been produced without specific funding – i.e. out of the film-makers’ own pocket!
At the heart of the stunning rainforest and grassland ecosystem of the Kudremukh National Park in south India, a huge Government-owned iron ore mining operation stripped the hills bare for over 20 years. Every year, heavy monsoon rains washed enormous quantities of loose soil from the mined slopes into the Bhadra River, leading to siltation on a massive scale. Floods caused by the silted river overflowing its banks used to leave a thick sludge of iron ore on the fields of farmers cultivating along its banks, greatly reducing the fertility of the soil and their crop yields. This disastrous mining project was one of the
most horrific examples of bad land use and environmental destruction.
With its lease having run out, the mining company had applied for, and been assured of, a renewal of their lease for another 20 years. Such a renewal would have meant the opening up of new areas of pristine forests to mining, resulting in the destruction of the Thunga River that also originates in these hills. Mindless Mining – the tragedy of Kudremukh was made on a shoestring budget as a pro bono film to support an advocacy campaign by Wildlife First, a Bangalore based conservation NGO.
The film, which portrays both the beauty of Kudremukh and the havoc caused by 20 years of opencast mining, played a pivotal role in turning the tide of public and political opinion against the continuation of mining in this fragile ecosystem. The film was also submitted as supporting evidence to the Indian Supreme Court, which was hearing a Public Interest Petition against the continuation of mining filed by Wildlife First. In October 2002, in an unprecedented judgment, the Supreme Court ordered the closure of the iron ore mining operation in Kudremukh by 2005. Since then, the mined slopes have started showing signs of recovery and the tracks of tigers and other wildlife are being noticed in the abandoned mining area.
Producer: Shekar Dattatri
Duration: 12 minutes
Format: MINI DV Country:
India Production Year: 2001 www.shekardattatri.com
The Maji ni Uhai (Water is Life) project was focused upon the Great Ruaha River in Tanzania. This major river used to run all year round, from central Tanzania, to the coast. It goes through the heart of the Ruaha National Park, the second largest in Tanzania, whilst also providing almost half of the country’s electricity at the hydroelectric dams downstream from Iringa. However, problems in the catchment for this river have meant that despite no real decrease in rainfall, the river now dries up completely for most of the year. The surrounding area, the industries, the people, the National Park and the environment are all suffering as a result of this. In the surrounding area there are many signs of desertification, drought and environmental degradation.
The main 45 minute film, made in collaboration with Friends of Ruaha Society (FORS) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), was completed in November 2004. It was aimed at primary school children in the Ruaha area and is presented in Kiswahili but with English subtitles. Emphasis was placed on children’s perspective of water, as mostly it is the children who work with water in the local environment. The film is music rich, all written and performed for the film by local school children. The entries from a local drawing competition about the importance of water were also used, as well as a short animation. The film was narrated by a well known and respected Tanzanian presenter called Godwin Gondwe.
Overview of the main film:
Introduction: the presenter introduces the film, explaining what it is about and what is going to be covered Talking about water: children discuss the importance of water (early primary syllabus).
The Water Cycle: a mixture of archive footage, animation and local examples (later primary syllabus).
The Great Ruaha River: putting the water cycle into context locally through the eyes of a local child.
The large scale problems: using the problems to reinforce educational goals about the water cycle – looking at what happens when you disrupt aspects of the natural water cycle.
The local problems: children discuss the local effects and causes of water shortage Children’s solutions: positive ideas that young people are putting into practise to address these issues
Summing up: a positive message from the presenter and children, with music written especially for the film.
In addition to this, a number of other versions have been produced. Some look at
particular topics within the larger film, for example: trees’ importance in the water cycle, whilst others have been designed to provide variety for FORS when it comes to a screening, looking at animals or “a view from the air”. Another has been produced as a short film for the delegates and decision-makers who attend the up-coming conferences focussed on the problems surrounding the Ruaha.
Trees in the Water Cycle: Asks and tackles the question “Why are trees important?”
The Ruaha Problem: Aimed at decision makers. Short and to the point. Also giving visual evidence of current situation.
The Great Ruaha River: As above but aimed at general audience, with more background.
Talking about Water: Children talking about water. Lower primary syllabus.
The Water Cycle: Upper primary syllabus material.
Animals of Ruaha: Fun film looking at some of the animals.
Flying over the Ruaha: Fun film going on a plane journey over the Ruaha
Website clips: for the FORS website (http://www.friendsofruaha.org)
Music Video: One of the songs recorded for the film made into a music video.
Evidence footage: Footage from the flights made available to WCS
The Brock Initiative’s primary aims were to:
Undertake a pilot project in Tanzania
Work in conjunction with a local NGO, ensuring the films’ local relevance, active use and ability to assess results.
Receive film contributions from both professional and non-professional sources, and encourage others to see the value in it.
Promote the practical and cost effectiveness of using film as a conservation tool.
Encourage and facilitate similar projects to be undertaken by others in the future.
To produce a film that would have real practical value as a conservation tool.
FORS’ primary aims for the film were four fold:
Reduce water wastage in these local communities.
Educate the local community about the major problems surrounding the Great Ruaha River.
Increase the impact of their environmental education.
Using practical examples, to inspire children and the local community to actively care and take responsibility for their local environment and water resources.
The Tanzanian Ministry & Institute of Education’s broader aims were to:
Enrich the diversity of teaching methods and resources used by teachers.
Encourage teaching of the new environmental syllabus in primary schools
Tanzania “World Water Day” Premieres. The premiere showings of the Brock Initiative’s “Maji Ni Uhai (Water is Life)” took place in Tanzania last month to coincide with World Water Day. A local mobile screening unit was hired to visit all the villages and schools involved and before the film, environmental teachers led a debate on the importance of water. Every school had also prepared an activity to mark the celebration. Activities included: class visits to a water sources, cleaning of taps, marching through the villages holding posters with different water messages and singing water conservation songs they had written.
After the film showing, every school was able to sing the songs from the film. It left practical challenges for the students and local community, and the feedback was that “film was a perfect tool for spreading conservation education to the community.” When students were asked if they would be able to pass an exam question on water, they responded that they would be “unable to fail”.
The film was shown widely in schools around Ruaha National Park and on Tanzanian TV channels. It is still shown to this day and the song written by a local school still gets played on the radio (Last heard on World Water Day 2010). By 2008, the damaging agriculture in the Usanga wetlands had been stopped by the Tanzanian government and the Ruaha National Park was extended to include this vital catchment area!
“The film evaluations which we have carried out have clearly demonstrated that people are affected in the short time (3-months) by films. It is our opinion that films alone will not change behaviour permanently, but films and their messages will be remembered for a long time (especially where rural people do not see TV) and, if repeatedly reinforced by other education methods (which might be ineffective on their own), then films have been a highly effective partner in conservation education and delivery.” Dr David Harper, CBCF
In the 1970’s the world was slowly waking up to the devastating levels of tropical deforestation. At that time, international wildlife conservation was focussed almost entirely on the protection of single species. Little attention was being paid to the larger picture of the total ecosystem and the importance of these natural places to the people who depend on them.
In 1977, Phil Agland travelled to Cameroon with the intention of helping to create a programme of conservation that would try to address the central challenge of making rainforest conservation relevant to the lives of local people. An essential prerequisite was to be the making of a film that would focus international attention on the extraordinary biodiversity of tropical forests. Its purpose was to focus attention on one forest in particular – Korup. An ancient ‘refuge’ forest reserve on the border with Nigeria, known at that time to local people and a handful of research scientists, lead by Dr. J. Stephen Gartlan.
Working in Korup was to prove a challenge. Not only had Agland not shot a film before, but Korup proved to be one of the wettest forests in the world, with almost continuous rain for 8 months. Filming entirely alone, Agland combined Korup with a summer job painting houses to pay for the film stock. The next five years was to be a process of painstaking accumulation of behavioural and ecological sequences, often filmed high in the canopy, pioneering such novel techniques as Image Intensified filming at night. The work led ultimately to the finished film, Korup: An African Rainforest that was to become Channel 4’s first natural history film, broadcast in November 1982.
The film was chosen to spearhead WWF’s 1982 Campaign to ‘Save the World’s Rainforests’ and the Earthlife Foundation’s Campaign to support the designation of Korup as a National Park, supported by a programme of sustainable development in the designated buffer zone adjacent to the Park.
An official showing of the film to the British Government in 1986, in the presence of Sir Crispin Tickell, head of the ODA, led directly to a grant of £440,000 to the Korup project – the first such Government grant to rainforest conservation.
This grant was followed by grants from the United States, the European Union, and the Dutch and German Governments and a multi-million dollar programme administered by WWF.
Korup was officially declared Cameroun’s first Rainforest National Park in November 1986.
As of 2012, Korup continues to receive significant international funding and remains the focus of a multi-national sustainable development programme.
Fragile Earth: A series of six programmes including the award winning Siarau and Selva Verde.
This multi award-winning tale tells the extraordinary story of how a population of wild New Zealand falcons have managed to survive in the face of fierce commercial forestry logging practices. It also tells the story of two friends – conservationist and director Sandy Crichton, and 88-year-old wildlife photographer George Chance.
Bound by their mutual love and admiration for the falcons, Chance’s failing health and eyesight inspires the young Crichton to capture footage of the falcons as a tribute to the latter’s body of work from the 1970’s. What begins as an empathetic response to fulfil a friend’s final wish to see the magnificent birds on film ends up becoming the chance of a lifetime. When Crichton begins filming the falcons, he inadvertently becomes witness to new falcon behaviour, capturing a turning point in the ecological evolution of the wild birds.
During the making of “Karearea: the pine falcon” filmmaker Sandy Crichton spent three breeding seasons in commercial pine plantations filming wild New Zealand falcons. He also took on the voluntary role of falcon consultant with Wenita Forest Products, the owners of commercial forests throughout the South Island of New Zealand. The role involved locating New Zealand falcon (karearea) nest sites within the plantations, whilst liaising with neighbouring landowners and forestry workers to monitor falcon activity.
This was essential for filming purposes but it also served as an early warning system for contractors working in the same areas as nesting falcons. During the course of filming, the filmmaker visited forestry workers during their breaks and provided training and support in karearea identification and behaviour. Nestcams were used to illustrate the disturbance caused by forestry activities close to nests. Not only did the film reveal completely new falcon behavioural adaptations in response to life in commercial pine plantations, but it also led to positive change. As a direct result of filming, many karearea nests were located and consequently protected. The filmmaker co-wrote a ‘best practice’ work strategy for Wenita Forest Products, which is still helping to protect karearea nests throughout the region of Otago to this day.
A poignant, true story about a heroic African Wild Dog named “Newky” whose exceptional life was scientifically documented over a period of five years by the worlds most renowned wild dog biologist, Dr. J. Weldon “Tico” McNutt.
Through Tico’s personal recollections, the film is the dramatic account of Newky’s life, a story that is both heartbreaking and important to understanding the challenges wild dogs face.
Set against the spectacular wilderness of Botswana’s Okavango delta, we follow Newky’s story from the dangers and joys of puppy-hood, through the loss of his siblings in encounters with lions, and into the trials of adulthood.
In a tragic twist of fate Newky’s entire pack is wiped out by an epidemic. Alone, he is forced to endure dangers that should be met by a strong, coherent pack. When finally he finds a mate, she is tragically killed by a farmer’s bullet. Newky remains undaunted, and ultimately succeeds in fathering a new generation of wild dogs.
This is a tale of struggle, endurance and triumph, and of one dog’s extraordinary spirit to win through against almost impossible odds. Above all, it is an emotionally powerful story that shows the complex natural and conservation challenges facing one of the world’s most endangered social mammals.
The wild dog has traditionally been perceived in a negative light, and treated as vermin throughout Africa. The film changed perceptions about African Wild Dogs amongst many viewers around the world:
“I have seen probably every wildlife documentary over the last 10 years. None has touched me so much as the Wild Dog’s Story. Never before has a documentary grasped like this one, the struggle for survival of wildlife. I never thought I could be brought to tears by a wildlife documentary, and I’m an ex-marine!!!”
Most importantly, perceptions were changed which directly saved Wild Dogs from persecution.
Namibian farmer: “I grew up in Namibia and spent years in Botswana. Wild dogs were a pest to me. How this film has changed my perception of them! Thank you for allowing us to understand and appreciate the wild dog.”
There are farmers who, as a direct result of viewing the film, contacted Dr McNutt to discuss wild dog management instead of shooting.
The Japanese used the film in children’s education. A writer from South America, inspired by the film, wrote a children’s story in Spanish about African Wild dogs, based on the film.
The film assisted the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust in fundraising, which significantly contributed to continuing this important study, that is now in its 3rd decade.