Solving Human-Elephant Conflicts at Thuma Forest Reserve, Malawi – Baby Elephant Killed by Poachers

Description:

Villagers along the boundaries of Thuma Forest Reserve in Malawi were increasingly facing problems with crop-raiding elephants which have led to 2 people and 1 elephant being killed in 2009. Although people are aware of the benefits coming to their communities through the “Thuma Ecosystem Rehabilitation Project”, is the permanent human-wildlife conflict affecting the local participation and support of WAG’s conservation efforts at Thuma.

There was an immediate need for action to protect both the elephants and at the same time the property and live of the local communities.

As an emergency measure, a section of the required fence has been installed and completed in November 2009 by the Wildlife Action Group International e.V. on behalf of the District Assembly of Salima.

The local farmers contributed with incredible hard workmanship to finish installing this section of the fence before the rainy season.
What has been achieved to date:
” Installation of a section of 12 km of solar powered electric fence
” Construction of an entrance gate
” Construction of 18 km access roads and tracks
” Construction of two small houses for fence attendants
” Training of fencing and maintenance personnel
” Temporary employment for local people: 3140 man-days

The now installed elephant fence-section allows the local people to reoccupy about 950 hectare of agriculture land, which they had abandoned because of the crop raiding elephants!

Positive results:

This film raises awareness and encourages donations to enable continuation of the conservation programme.

Contact/Links:

Chairman: Georg Kloeble
Wildlife Action Group International e.V.
Pfaelzer Strasse 22
D-83109 Grosskarolinenfeld
Germany
Skype: waginternational
Email: info@wildlifeactiongroup.org
Website: http://www.africanconservation.org
Link to film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNttZ6fg80o&feature=player_embedded

By Jason Peters

Vanishing Giants

Description

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.
Positive results:

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.

Other Achievements:

Winner of the Panda News Award at Wildscreen 2004

Contact/Links:

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: wildlife@vsnl.com or info@riverbankstudios.com
Earth Matters Foundation: www.earthmattersfoundation.org

By Jason Peters

The Performance – Campaign film for the Animals Asia Foundation

Description:

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

Campaign film for the Animals Asia Foundation

Positive results:

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.

Other Achievements:

The film has reached the hearts of many and helped further the message of animal welfare in general.

Contact/Links:

The Performance’ was produced by Environment Films Ltd (www.environmentfilms.org) for the Animals Asia Foundation (www.animalsasia.org) to draw further attention to the plight of thousands of animals being used in circuses throughout Asia.
The film is narrated by Terry Waite CBE and its music is by Moby.
Watch the film here: http://www.environmentfilms.org/PERFORMANCE.html or http://youtu.be/HVyEg12eI78
See Press coverage here: http://www.environmentfilms.org/PERFORMANCE_PRESS.html
Read Animal Asia’s article, Animal performance ban – recommendations to zoos, 18 January 2011:http://www.animalsasia.org/index.php?UID=OCULNN9BP58

By Jason Peters

The Last Migration – Wild Elephant Capture in Sarguja

Description:

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.

Positive results:

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

Other Achievements:

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.

Contact/Links:

Director/Cameraman: Mike Pandey
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_the_last_migration.htm
Email: wildlife@vsnl.com or info@riverbankstudios.com
Earth Matters Foundation: www.earthmattersfoundation.org

By Jason Peters

Elephants Without Borders

Title: Elephants Without Borders

Description:

Elsewhere in Africa elephants are in decline, but Botswana has an overpopulation problem with over 150,000. A pre-emptive cull of over 60,000 has been suggested. Dr. Mike Chase’s research finds real and meaningful solutions to Botswana’s problem. Chase is discovering their ancient migration routes, now blocked by expanding human settlement, and is lobbying the governments of neighboring counties to open gaps for safe passage.

Previously unrecorded annual gatherings, numbering over 5000 elephants, suggests an elephant intellect far more complex than previously imagined. Dr Chase believes that these clan gatherings reinforce bonds between family groups and that survival strategies are shared.

The film reveals new science about elephant movements and home range sizes. Chase tracks a bull elephant with an astounding home range of 35,000 sq kilometres – the largest ever recorded for an African elephant. Female home range sizes are discovered to be nearly five times the previously accepted average of 3000 square kilometres.

Bull elephants living in the Makgadigadi salt pans are filmed for the first time as Mike discovers how they survive in the hostile desert.

In the end the film reveals the solution: Chase has identified corridors that will allow Angola’s refugee elephants to return home after 30 years of civil war.

Positive results:

As documented by Dr. Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders Organisation (“EWB”):

The film helped open dialogue between five African countries and has had a direct impact on elephant conservation in Botswana and beyond. The film has:

  • Provided EWB with an audience with the Botswana Government, who then provided EWB with funding to conduct the first independent aerial survey of elephants (and other wildlife) in the Botswana.
  • Boosted the profile of elephant conservation in KAZA (Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier), the world’s largest conservation area straddling Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The film has been viewed by the Government Departments in the five countries charged with formalising KAZA.
  • Aided EWB in securing funding from Conservation Agencies in the amount of US$50 000.00, all of which has been ploughed back into elephant conservation and the KAZA Transfronteir Conservation area.
  • Helped secure funding for EWB’s conservation farming project, in which EWB are researching techniques to keep elephants out of farmlands and thus reduce human elephant conflict.
  • Brought awareness which helped prioritise conservation corridors and areas to initially de-mine in South-eastern Angola in collaboration with the Angolan government and MgM demining company.
  • Created dialogue amongst decision makers on the decommissioning and re-alignment of Botswana’s Vet Fences.
  • Increased awareness amongst the youth about elephant conservation in Botswana.

Contact/Links:

Produced by AFRISCREEN FILMS for BBC NATURAL WORLD
Producers: Tania “TJ’ Jenkins & Mike Holding
http://www.afriscreen.com/elephants-without-borders.html
Series Producer: Tim Martin BBC NHU
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00hhf6f
For more detailed information about the Project and Mike Chase’s work, please visit: http://www.elephantswithoutborders.org

By Jason Peters

Borneo’s Pygmy Elephants

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXtVSSStymo

Description:

Borneo’s pygmy forest elephants were once believed to be a feral population derived from domesticated imported Asian elephants, but DNA testing has confirmed they are a unique subspecies, who’ve lived on Borneo for at least 300,000 years.

This film tells the story of forest guide, Bert Dausip, observing and befriending the
elephants. His daily deep-jungle expeditions reward him with some of the most intimate and close up encounters with forest elephants ever filmed. Bert discovers one year old Fig and his elephant family living in the forests alongside the Kinabatangan River, in northeastern Sabah.

In befriending these elephants Bert has discovered that Pygmy elephants are far gentler than anyone could have ever imagined. They aren’t the aggressive killers that people think they are. Even females with newborns accept his presence.

Bert is probably the only person in the world who can track down and observe forest elephants in their wild forest home on a daily basis. This in itself is a spectacular accomplishment, but little did Bert know that once he collected the DNA samples for science his familiarity with the pygmy elephants would become crucial to an action plan to save these remarkable animals and their habitat.

Positive results:

Borneo’s pygmy forest elephants were once believed to be a feral population derived from domesticated imported Asian elephants, but DNA testing has confirmed they are a unique subspecies, who’ve lived on Borneo for at least 300,000 years.

This film tells the story of forest guide, Bert Dausip, observing and befriending the
elephants. His daily deep-jungle expeditions reward him with some of the most intimate and close up encounters with forest elephants ever filmed. Bert discovers one year old Fig and his elephant family living in the forests alongside the Kinabatangan River, in northeastern Sabah.

In befriending these elephants Bert has discovered that Pygmy elephants are far gentler than anyone could have ever imagined. They aren’t the aggressive killers that people think they are. Even females with newborns accept his presence.

Bert is probably the only person in the world who can track down and observe forest elephants in their wild forest home on a daily basis. This in itself is a spectacular accomplishment, but little did Bert know that once he collected the DNA samples for science his familiarity with the pygmy elephants would become crucial to an action plan to save these remarkable animals and their habitat.

Contact/Links:

Director: Joe Kennedy
Producer: Michael Patrick Wong
Executive Producer: Ellen Windemuth
Production Company: Michael Patrick Wong & Off the Fence

Buy the DVD: http://www.amazon.com/Borneos-Pygmy-Elephants-seen-Discover/dp/B0027VD3OU

By Jason Peters