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

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