With India’s wilderness suffering in the face of explosive economic growth, Shekar Dattatri continues to focus his attention on the urgent need to conserve his country’s remaining natural heritage. His subjects range from the tiger to disappearing coastlines.
His country attracts headlines for its rapid development and rise on the world stage. However, conservation film-maker Shekar Dattatri believes this burgeoning success is placing “wild” India at risk.
Genuine passion for nature, emotional fortitude, the ability to research a subject thoroughly, and the patience to craft a film that will convey the essence of an issue clearly, are some of the attributes needed to be a conservation film-maker.
Dattatri has helped produce more than 30 wildlife and conservation films in the past three decades, as a cameraman, writer and director. His Rolex Award in 2004 imparted much-needed momentum to his eloquent film-making. During this time, he has refined his conservation philosophy, coming to the view that a film can more often lead to effective action when viewed by a small group of decision-makers than by the general public.
One of his most influential films, 2010’s The Truth About Tigers, a 40-minute guide to tigers and their conservation, illustrates how human activities impact their conservation, and what can be done to reverse the damage.
One of his recent films addresses the challenges faced by the thousands of Indians living in protected forests, and the degradation they inadvertently cause to natural habitats. Contrary to popular belief, Dattatri argues that generous and consensual relocation will benefit these marooned communities, while making more room for nature. Dattatri also writes on wildlife, conservation and film-making.
Tigers left in India, according to government estimates
Families successfully relocated from the Bhadra Tiger Reserve in south-west India, as recorded in Dattatri’s recent film