Ananda Kumar, a 2015 Whitley Award winner who leads the Anamalai Elephant Programme has been featured in a film produced and directed by Saravanakumar of Evanescence Studios, India.
The film ‘Living with Elephants’ was recently shortlisted by the International Elephant Film Foundation (IEFF) in the ‘Science and Elephants’ category along with three other films. The winner was announced on 3rd March 2016 in New York.
The film depicts the work of Ananda in the Valparai region of Tamil Nadu, India where he has developed an early warning system for the local villages in an effort to reduce surprise encounters with elephants. The system, which uses text messages, calls and mobile operated light indicators, serves to warn locals if the elephants are in the vicinity and has resulted in a substantial decrease in human deaths as the elephants are now easily avoided. The team are also working on measures to deter the elephants from crops in order to reduce crop damage which will help increase people’s tolerance of the elephants.
Although the film did not win the award in the category, Ananda hopes that it will inspire the public to view elephant conflict issues and solutions in a new light.