Oscar win for ‘The Elephant Whisperers’


    In News

    • The Elephant Whisperers, a Tamil documentary, won the Oscar in the Best Documentary Short Film category at the 95th Academy Awards.


    • The 40-minute documentary, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves and produced by Guneet Monga, is based on the life and work of Bomman and his wife Bellie who foster orphaned elephant calves. Bomman and Bellie are both from the Kattunayakan tribe.
    • Kattunayakans, one of the 75 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups” (PTGs) in India, are settled in parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

    Values in Context & Why it matters

    • Empathy & Compassionate Values: The documentary shows the lives of Bomman and Bellie, two Indigenous people entrusted with the care of two orphaned baby elephants, Raghu and Ammu. It portrays the bond between the elephants and the couple as they nurture the calves.
    • Human- Nature Relationship: Using the national park and the Theppakadu Elephant camp as the backdrop, the film delves into themes of conservation, human-animal conflict and coexistence between nature and humans.
      • It also emphasises the importance of involving indigenous communities in the process of conservation.
    • Conservation: The documentary also sheds light on the incessant human-animal conflict, with Raghu losing his mother to electrocution and Bellie losing her partner to a tiger attack.

    Caregiving: It is the hardest and most selfless job in the world. It requires a stupendous amount of patience and warmth to be able to tend to someone who cannot tend to themselves.

    Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) 

    • Human-wildlife conflict is when encounters between humans and wildlife lead to negative results, such as loss of property, livelihoods, and even life. Defensive and retaliatory killing may eventually drive these species to extinction.

    Cause of HWCs

    • Human populations and demand for space continue to grow, people and wildlife are increasingly interacting and competing for resources, which can lead to increased human-wildlife conflict. 
    • Lack of Protected Areas
    • Zoonotic Diseases 


    • Destruction of habitat and collapse of wildlife populations
    • Injury and loss of life of humans and wildlife
    • Crop and Human property damage 
    • Economic and psychological costs to Tribals
    • Impact on the Sustainable Development 

    Way Forward

    • Administrative: Increase Surveillance using technology, use Signboards, Wildlife Corridors.
    • IEC Measures: Awareness Programmes & Training programs, compensation for damages.
    • Structural Measures: Improvement of habitat and boundary walls, Part of Corporate Social Responsibility. 

    Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

    • It is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state, at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
    • It has a common boundary with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) on the West, Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka) on the North, and the Nilgiris North Division on the South and East and Gudalur Forest Division on the South West, together forming a large conservation landscape for flagship species such as Tiger and Asian Elephant. 
    • The Reserve has tall grasses, commonly referred to as ‘Elephant Grass’.

    Source: IE